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Understanding the Risks of Cloud Migration and Security Measures to Mitigate Them

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UNDERSTANDING-THE-RISKS-OF-CLOUD-MIGRATION
UNDERSTANDING-THE-RISKS-OF-CLOUD-MIGRATION

Thanks to our experts at Protected Harbor, we’ve released a new infographic that can help your organization or business to reduce your cloud migration security risks. This infographic includes key security tips and advice to help you make the right cloud migration decisions. Download the infographic now to learn more! And don’t forget to visit our blog for more tips and advice.

As your organization evaluates cloud migration, it’s critical to understand the risks. Security is a top concern for many businesses, so before you move your company’s data and services to the cloud, you must understand how to mitigate any potential risk. Understanding cloud security risks is essential for an effective migration strategy. The first step in this process is understanding the potential risks of migrating your organization to the cloud. After all, not every business can trust third parties with their data. But with the proper security measures in place, moving to a cloud platform can benefit almost any business. Download our infographic to understand how to reduce cloud migration security risks in a quick overview, and continue reading the blog for more information.

What Is Cloud Migration?

Moving apps, data, and other digital assets from an on-premises data center to the cloud is known as cloud migration. These may be programs that have been specially created for the organizations or ones that they have licensed from a different vendor. There are various methods for moving to the cloud, including:

  • “Lift and shift” refer to moving apps as-is.
  • Modifying applications slightly to facilitate their cloud migration
  • Application rebuilding or remodeling to make them more suitable for a cloud environment
  • Changing from legacy applications that don’t support the cloud to new ones that cloud vendors offer.
  • “Cloud-native development” refers to the process of creating new cloud-based apps

What are the Key Benefits of Cloud Migration?

The advantages of the cloud, which include hosting applications and data in a highly effective IT environment that can increase factors like cost, performance, and security, are the overarching goal of most cloud migrations.

Elastic scalability, a need to reduce costs or convert from a capital expenditure to an operating expenses model, and a requirement for new technologies, services, or features only available in a cloud environment are essential drivers for cloud migration.

The flexibility of corporate IT teams to deliver new services and expand the company to meet changing business requirements is enhanced by cloud computing, which is maybe even more significant.

Security Risks of Cloud Migration

Because cloud migration is susceptible to several attacks, careful planning is required. Sensitive data is exchanged during migration, leaving it open to attack. Additionally, attackers may obtain access to unsecured development, test, or production environments at different points in a migration project.

Misconfigurations-Your-Cloud-Migration

Plan your cloud migration efforts in advance of the following dangers:

Application Programming Interface (API) vulnerabilities: APIs serve as communication routes between environments. At every step of the cloud migration process, APIs must be protected.

Blind spots: Using the cloud requires giving up some operational control. Before migrating, check the security your cloud provider offers and how to enhance it with supplemental third-party security solutions.

Compliance requirements: Verify that your intended cloud environment complies with the necessary standards. This comprises the organization’s protocols for ensuring the security of cloud workloads, data, and access, as well as compliance certifications issued by the cloud provider. As part of the standards for compliance, all of these may be audited and will be.

Unchecked Growth: Moving to the cloud is a continuous process. The company will probably add more resources, use new cloud services, and add more apps after moving applications to the cloud. Once SaaS apps are up and operating in the cloud, it is normal to begin employing more SaaS applications. There is a significant operational problem in securing these new services and applications effectively.

Data loss: Moving to the cloud requires the transfer of data. If there are issues with the migration process, it is crucial to ensure that data is backed up. With rigorous key management, all data is transferred across encrypted channels.

5 Ways to Mitigate Cloud Migration Security Risks

Here are a few best practices that can help improve security during and after cloud migrations:

  1. Develop a Plan– Planning before migration and executing successfully is essential. Use automated tools and optimization, and outline the expertise, resources, and tooling you need to get started.
  2. Start Small- To reduce the fear and accelerate cloud adoption, start with an automatic workload lift and shift over in small portions.
  3. Leverage SaaS Adoption– Utilize your business units to promote cloud adoption by investing in Software-as-a-Service.
  4. Set Security Standards– Develop baseline security standards by collaborating with your governance team.
  5. Use Managed Services- Organizations should monitor their cloud security posture from the control plan to asset configuration. They can partner with a Managed Services Provider for efficient migration.

Conclusion

Migrating to the cloud can be a great way to boost your company’s productivity and scalability. But it’s essential to understand the security risks first. The best way to mitigate these risks is to work with a reputable cloud provider committed to data security. Having the right security practices in place for your team is also important. With the proper security measures, you can enjoy all the benefits of migrating to the cloud. That’s why we have created an infographic to help you out. Download today and get started with your cloud migration.

Cloud Application Migration Fear

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Many organizations fear migrating their applications to the cloud because it can be an extremely challenging and complex task. This process will require proper planning, effort, and time in order for it to be successful.

The security measures, as well as practices that organizations have built for their on-premise infrastructure, do not coincide with what they require in the cloud, where everything is deeply integrated.

Before streamlining your workflow with cloud computing, you must be aware of the most challenging security risks and how to avoid them. Let’s explore how organizations should approach the security aspects of cloud migration, from API integration to access control and continuous monitoring.

This article will highlight some of the most common fears organizations have while moving from on-premise infrastructure to a cloud environment.

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, programs, and other business components into a cloud computing environment.

A business can carry out a variety of cloud migrations.

One typical model for cloud migration involves moving data and applications from an on-premises data center to the cloud, but it is also possible to move data and applications across different cloud platforms or providers. Cloud-to-cloud migration is the term for this second situation.

Another kind of migration is reverse cloud migration, commonly referred to as cloud repatriation. From one cloud platform to another, data or applications are transferred in this case.

Cloud migration, however, might not be suitable for everyone.

Scalable, reliable, and highly available cloud environments are feasible. These, however, are not the only considerations that will influence your choice.

Why is Security in the Cloud the Biggest Fear for Organizations?

The reason why security is the biggest challenge organizations face is that public clouds offer shared resources among different users and use virtualization. The ease of data sharing in the cloud creates serious security concerns regarding data leakage and loss.

The major risk in any infrastructure is neglecting security vulnerabilities due to a lack of expertise, resources, and visibility. Most

providers contain various processing and cloud storage services. Therefore, it’s easy for hackers to expose data via poorly configured access controls, data protection measures, and encryption.

Most Common Exposure Points for Cloud-based Applications

Overcoming cloud migration challenges before they arise can help any organization to migrate smoothly and save them from potential cyber threats. But first, we need to understand the weak links and exposure points that can put security at risk.

Let’s discuss the weakest links that cause cloud application migration fears:

1. Data Theft Causes Unauthorized Access

Providing administrative access to cloud vendors poses serious threats to the organization. Criminals are gaining access to programs like Office 365 through installations that give them administrative rights. In fact, very recently a phishing campaign leveraging a legitimate organization’s Office 365 infrastructure for email management has surfaced on the cyber scam scene.
Hackers are always evolving their phishing tactics, and everything they do is seen as being smarter and more sophisticated.

If criminals get access to users’ cloud credentials, they can access the CSP’s (Cloud Solution Provider’s) services for gaining additional resources. They could even leverage those cloud resources to target the company’s administrative users and other organizations using the same service provider.
Basically, an intruder who obtains CSP admin cloud credentials can use them to access the organization’s systems and data.

2. Third-party Products Comes With Security Risks

Organizations outsource information security management to third-party vendors. It reduces the internal cybersecurity burden but generates its own set of security risks. In other words, the cybersecurity burden shifts from an organization’s internal operations onto its third-party vendors. However, leveraging third-party services or products may come with compliance risks, business continuity risks, mobile devices risks, and so on.

Last year, SolarWinds, a famous monitoring tool based on an open-source software had been compromise by the Russian Intelligence Service. They had created a backdoor within the coding and submitted it into the base product. Hackers used a regular software update in order to inject malicious coding into Orion’s own software to use for cyberattacks.

Vulnerable applications are entry points for cybercriminals. They are always in search of weak spots to infiltrate the system. Applications are used in every industry for better workflow and management. However, there is a need to protect these applications by limiting their access and implementing available patches for better security. Frequent updating of applications and systems helps to protect your IT infrastructure from potential attacks.

3. Hackers Can Compromise Vulnerable VPN Devices

VPNs (Virtual Private Network’s) provide an encrypted connection that hides your online data from attackers and allows businesses to protect their private cloud resources. Many cloud applications need a VPN to transfer data from on-premises infrastructures to the cloud. VPNs are configured to operate one way, but they are often bidirectional. This often opens your organization up to an attack occurring in the cloud service provider.

One such attack has been observed where cybercriminals exploit VPN servers’ vulnerabilities to encrypt the network with a new ransomware variant. By exploiting unpatched VPN applications, hackers can remotely access critical information, such as usernames or passwords, and allows them to log in to the network manually.

Reconfiguring a VPN to access a newly relocated app in the cloud can be disruptive and complicated for its users. Most people don’t use VPNs for cloud application migration because they don’t trust them.

It’s better to install on-site hardware, build VPNs’ deployment on that hardware, migrate them into the on-site deployment, and then move the VMs (Virtual Machines) into a data center. This can be achieved by enabling transparent, unfiltered connectivity between environments. Enterprise cloud VPN can achieve this configuration between a cloud network and an on-premises network.

4. Accidental Exposure of User Credentials

Cybercriminals generally leverage cloud applications as a pretext in their phishing attacks. With the rapid use of cloud-based emails and document sharing services, employees have become habitual of receiving emails with links asking them to confirm their credentials before accessing a particular site or document.

This type of confirmation in particular makes it easy for intruders to get employees’ credentials for their company’s cloud services. Therefore, accidental exposure of credentials in the cloud is a major concern for organizations because it can potentially compromise the security and privacy of cloud-based data and resources.

5. Lack of Secure API

Using API (Application User Interface) in the cloud allows organizations to implement better controls for their applications and systems. However, using insecure APIs can come with grave security risks. The vulnerabilities that exist within these APIs can provide an entry point for intruders to steal critical data, manipulate services, and do reputational harm.

Insecure APIs can cause security misconfigurations, broken authentications, exposed data, broken function-level authorization, and asset mismanagement. The most common example of an insecure API is the Facebook-Cambridge Analytical Scandal which allowed for Cambridge Analytica to access Facebook user data.

How to Reduce Cloud Migration Security Risks?

Organizations can take various steps when it comes to mitigating cloud migration security risks. Here are some recommendations on how to migrate your applications to the cloud.

1. Develop a Plan

Outline the expertise, resources, and tooling you need to get started. Use automated tools supporting optimization and data discovery analysis to define the right migration method for your company.

2. Start Small

To reduce the fear and accelerate cloud adoption, start with an automatic workload lift and shift over in small portions. It helps to introduce cloud benefits and security risks. Moreover, this approach reduces uncertainty and lets organizations benefit from infrastructure savings.

3. Leverage Business Units to Drive Cloud Adoption

Utilize your business units to promote cloud adoption by investing in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This does not require any rewriting of your applications. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) already exists and is running in the cloud which lets you decommission on-premises CRM and is easier than full on-board migration.

4. Make a Set of Security Standards

Develop baseline security standards by collaborating with your governance team. The list must include cloud workload vulnerability posture, control plane configuration, and cloud infrastructure privilege assignment.

5. Invest in Cloud Security Management

Organizations should monitor their cloud security posture from the control plane to asset configuration. When your cloud deployments increase in complexity and numbers, a service tracking all configuration settings becomes valuable to detect any misconfigurations causing security vulnerabilities.

Ready to Migrate Your Applications to the Cloud?

Most organizations lack the experience and confidence to migrate to the cloud fearing the associated risks that come with it. The reason is that they don’t have the right time and resources in place to facilitate the move.

Leveraging partners and service providers can help to overcome those fears and make the cloud application migration smoother for your organization. With the support of Protected Harbor

Cloud Migration Services, our clients can transform their existing apps and achieve “future-ready” business outcomes. These services range from planning to execution. Our comprehensive strategy is supported by the understanding that successful modernization uptake requires a diverse blend of suitable solutions with a range of risk and reward profiles.

Our enterprise application migration services offer thorough, extensive, reliable procedures for transferring sizable application portfolios to cloud platforms, and they are easily scalable from one to many apps. We can assist you with application inventory, assessment, code analysis, migration planning, and execution using our tried-and-true tools.

We provide deep industry expertise and a robust set of advanced tools. Experts at Protected Harbor migrate your applications to the cloud and help you to increase and optimize the productivity as well as the flexibility of your workforce. Visit here to get more information about Protected Harbor’s cloud services.

Cybersecurity Risks of 3rd Party Cloud-Apps in 2022

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Healthcare-Data-Breaches

Healthcare data breaches are at an all-time high. The Ponemon Institute found that 66% of healthcare organizations experienced a breach of patient data in the past 12 months. And due to recent software vulnerabilities and cyberattacks on healthcare companies, we predict these numbers will continue to rise. The crux of the problem is that most healthcare vendors operate as a closed system that doesn’t sync with other systems outside of their ecosystem. If a vendor is breached, it almost always leads to a data breach for its partners. As such, healthcare organizations must modify their current strategy and begin working with third-party vendors who have a vested interest in protecting their sensitive information. Doing so will help cut down on the number of breaches being reported and improve operational efficiency across the board.

3rd party cloud apps are becoming more common in enterprise software as companies look to save money and time by outsourcing their software. However, businesses need to be aware of the cybersecurity risks of using these apps. Companies can use various best practices to protect themselves from 3rd party cloud app cyber risks.

We are excited to announce our white paper- Cybersecurity Risks of 3rd Party Cloud Apps in 2022. We have done the research so that you don’t have to, the white paper discusses the top cybersecurity threats, data breach trends in 2022, and how to stay safe. Download our white paper today to learn about 3rd party cloud apps.

 

TOP 3 CYBERSECURITY THREATS

These are the worst offenders regarding security threats in the healthcare industry.

Malicious Network Traffic- According to a 2019 analysis by Verizon, 81 percent of cybersecurity problems in healthcare are caused by privilege misuse, web apps, and other issues. Even though this form of malicious network activity may not be as well-planned as a full-scale ransomware operation, its presence in the sector should raise alarm bells for healthcare providers.

Ransomware Threat-  It prevents or restricts users from accessing computer systems by locking out or corrupting the data until a ransom is paid. Usually, the only way to unlock the system is to pay the ransom, hence the name “ransomware.”

Phishing Scams- Phishing is the process of requesting sensitive information through correspondence that claims to be from a reputable source, such as a mortgage business or official government webpage. This often comprises a personal identification number, login information, and payment information.

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THESE ARE THE DATA BREACH TRENDS WE EXPECT TO SEE IN 2022

  • Increased Healthcare Breach Notification Laws- The number of healthcare breach notification laws continues to grow. As such, we expect breach notification laws to become more stringent and begin to include stiff fines.
  • The Rise of Cloud-based EHRs- As organizations begin to rely on cloud-based EHRs, we expect data breaches to increase. This is because EHRs are not designed to be safe outside of the organization’s environment. Thus, if a breach does occur, it can quickly spread to other partners and vendors.
  • Increased Focus on Software Application Security Organizations that fail to prioritize application security will pay the price. We expect to see organizations place an increased focus on third-party application security and the security within their own applications. -## TOP 10 Largest Healthcare Data Breaches of Q1 2022

LARGEST HEALTHCARE DATA BREACHES OF Q1 2022

ProviderRecords Affected
North Broward Hospital District1351431
Medical Review Institute/ America134571
Medical Healthcare Solutions133997
Ravkoo105000
TTEC Healthcare86305

As we’ve outlined, healthcare companies have seen a massive increase in data breaches. This is mainly due to SaaS providers’ weak security and inability to protect their customers’ data. Download our white paper to see the complete list of healthcare data breaches in Q1 2022.

SAAS SECURITY THREATS IN HEALTHCARE

The simplicity, usability, and cost advantages of SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions have encouraged healthcare firms to adopt them at a never-before-seen rate. Every healthcare company, however, needs to be aware of a few risks associated with using third-party apps.

Man In the Middle Vulnerabilities: An app and the hospital backend do not directly exchange data. Data is sent back and forth between the two parties via a communication channel. Bad actors can intercept the data at any point along their transit and potentially harm the backend.

Limited Cloud Infrastructure: Because a cloud-based architecture differs from an on-premises data center, traditional security technologies and tactics are frequently unable to defend it successfully. However, nothing you can do will make your third-party software secure if the foundational elements are not correctly set up.

Lack of Regulations: The usage of health data by third-party apps is primarily up to individual businesses rather than established regulations. Cloud service providers are not regarded as business associates under HIPAA and are not covered by HIPAA. Instead, most third-party apps are covered by the FTC Act’s protections and the agency’s authority.

Data Control Issues: A 2019 National Library of Medicine (NLM) study found that 79 percent of healthcare apps resell or share data. There is no law requiring patient consent for this downstream use, which may raise privacy-related concerns.

Inadequate Due Diligence: Organizations fail to do adequate due diligence on their third-party vendors, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks. The Ponemon Institute found that 87% of healthcare organizations fail to perform a third-party risk analysis.

 

HOW CAN HEALTHCARE REDUCE THE RISK OF CYBER-ATTACKS?

The best method to reduce threats is to prevent them. Often, businesses begin by collaborating with their internet service provider (ISP) and hiring a third-party security risk assessment team. The easiest method to lessen risks within your healthcare company is to follow these cybersecurity best practices: Patch management priorities, least access privilege policies, email, and traffic filtering, and many more. Download the white paper to learn more about how businesses can protect patient data.

Examine Third-party IT and Cybersecurity Practices: Audit all vendors’ third-party IT and cybersecurity practices, including software providers. If the vendors fail to meet security standards, terminate contracts and seek new vendors that meet standards.

CONCLUSION

With the increase in the adoption of SaaS and other cloud-based software solutions, a vast amount of sensitive data is now stored in the cloud and is thus made more vulnerable to data breaches. Cloud apps are prone to security breaches due to their shared hosting environments.

Cloud apps are the most likely to cause a data breach due to their very nature. Most of them are designed for ease of use, not security. And even those that are secure by design are often hosted on shared servers, making them a security risk.

Even if you use a secure cloud app, there is always a chance that the service provider itself may be hacked, and your data may end up in the wrong hands. Stay connected with us and keep reading our blogs to know about the latest updates about 3rd party cloud apps. In the meantime, you can download and read the white paper Cybersecurity Risks of 3rd Party Cloud Apps in 2022.

The Top 5 Risks of Cloud Migration

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When it comes to cloud migration, there are plenty of risks involved. Every business considering migrating its IT infrastructure from a traditional data center to a public cloud must identify potential obstacles. After all, it’s not an easy transition, even with the many tools and resources available. A study by New Voice Media found that only 14 percent of companies that had begun transitioning to the cloud completed the process successfully. This means businesses have plenty of opportunities to get things right the first time. With so much information available about how and why companies should migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud, it’s essential to understand which risks need addressing first.

We are excited to announce the ebook “The Top 5 Risks of Cloud Migration”. This ebook will help you to identify the top 5 risks of cloud migration and how to avoid them. You will learn how to protect your data and meet compliance requirements, how to choose the right cloud for your workload, how to manage costs and risks of cloud adoption, how to plan for a successful cloud implementation, and how to avoid common pitfalls during the cloud migration process. You can download this ebook for FREE.

Cloud Migration is Only the Beginning

When companies approach the decision to migrate to the cloud, they often make the mistake of thinking it will solve all of their problems. The most significant risk is that businesses assume they can put off addressing the issues they face today by migrating tomorrow. In reality, migration is only the beginning of a new set of challenges that businesses will need to overcome to ensure their data remains safe and secure in the long term. If a business has a poor security system today, it will have a flawed one tomorrow, regardless of whether the data is hosted on-premises or in the cloud. This is why migration should be seen as a way to improve the business environment, rather than just a quick fix to a single issue.

Why is Security in the Cloud a Challenge?

Migration to the cloud should be considered a long-term investment, not a short-term solution. However, the fact that most organizations are new to the cloud makes it difficult for them to know what to expect. Often, businesses don’t fully understand the risk associated and the potential impact cloud migration could have on their business. Of course, security is the biggest challenge of all. Public cloud data centers are designed for maximum scalability and flexibility, so companies don’t have the same level of control and visibility as they do with their own data centers. Even if a business uses a managed cloud provider, it still has to ensure it applies the proper security measures to keep its data safe.

 

Data Theft Causes Unauthorized Access

Data theft is a common problem with traditional infrastructure. If a company fails to protect its data, unauthorized access is always a risk. Businesses are no longer in control when that data is migrated to the cloud. When migrating to the cloud, companies often store their data in a third-party facility. This creates a single point of failure; if hackers breach security, they will have access to all the data. This can include all types of information, including personally identifiable data and sensitive client information. If this data is stolen and isn’t encrypted, it can be used for malicious purposes, including identity theft and financial fraud. The potential financial impact on a business can be huge.

 

Third-Party Product Comes with Security Risks

Third-party products are needed in every aspect of the business. However, they present certain security risks. For example, a third-party VPN device could be easy for hackers to compromise. When migrating to the cloud, it is crucial to understand the security level of third-party products and services. When businesses outsource, they must make sure the service provider uses a secure VPN connection. They should also consider hiring a third-party provider with a secure data center.

Hackers Can Compromise Vulnerable VPN Devices

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, provide a secure connection that keeps your internet data hidden from hackers and enables companies to safeguard their private cloud resources. Many cloud apps require a VPN to transport data from on-premises systems to the cloud. Although they are often bidirectional, VPNs are set up to only work in one direction. This frequently exposes your business to a cloud service provider attack. When hackers break into a VPN device, they can access the data transmitted between a remote user and the data center. This can result in data loss, stolen information, and financial losses.

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Accidental Exposure of User Credentials

Cybercriminals typically use cloud apps as a cover in their phishing assaults.  Due to the widespread usage of cloud-based communications and document sharing services, employees are used to getting emails with links requesting them to validate their credentials before accessing a certain site or document.

Businesses often collect user credentials on the premises, such as passwords and usernames. However, when these credentials are migrated to the cloud, they are stored the same way as the other data. If hackers can access this information, it can result in a severe security breach. If the credentials are stored in plain text, hackers will be able to see them. This is one of the most common ways for hackers to access secure data. A secure migration process involves encrypting the user credentials. However, some companies don’t make this a priority.

Lack of Secure API

An API is essential for connecting different business components, including the CRM and billing systems. If a company doesn’t put security at the forefront when designing its API, it can pose a significant risk to the business. When designing an API, it is crucial to understand the security requirements. This includes authentication, authorization, and session management. If a company overlooks any of these requirements, it can result in a severe breach of security. If the API is easy to compromise, hackers can gain access to sensitive data in the cloud. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytical Scandal, which gave Cambridge Analytica access to Facebook user data, is the most common example of an insecure API.

Conclusion

Moving to the cloud can be your business’s best course of action. Before going further, be sure you have a clear cloud migration strategy and are aware of the dangers associated with potential incompatibilities with the current architecture, security threats, and reduced visibility and control. Additionally, make every effort to prevent data loss, incomplete data deletion, excessive spending, and additional latency. Cloud migration might be beneficial for your company if you can avoid these problems.

Stay informed and ensure you are aware of all the risks of a cloud migration before making a final decision. Download this e-book, and you will learn about the top 5 risks of cloud migration and how to avoid them in detail.

What Iran’s Cyber Attack On Boston Children’s Hospital Means For Your Healthcare Organization

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Wednesday, June 1st, At a Boston College cybersecurity conference hosted by Mintz, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that investigators prevented a planned attack on Boston Children’s Hospital by Iranian government-sponsored hackers. The FBI director told the story as part of a bigger speech about cyber threats from Russia, China, and Iran, as well as the importance of government-private partnerships.

What Happened

In the summer of 2021, the FBI received a tip from an intelligence partner that hackers sponsored by the Iranian government were targeting the Boston Children’s Hospital. The cyber squad in the FBI Boston Field Office raced to notify the hospital. Over a 10-day period, worked with the hospital in response to the threat

Wray didn’t say why the hospital attack was planned, but he did say that Iran and other governments have been hiring cyber mercenaries to carry out attacks on their behalf. Furthermore, the US government has identified the healthcare and public-health sectors as one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. Healthcare providers such as hospitals are considered easy targets for hackers.

It wasn’t clear if the hackers planned to target the hospital with ransomware, shut down the hospital operations with a virus, or sell the data on the black market.  That’s because the FBI caught the attack early enough to prevent any damage to the network or the hospital’s data. The FBI declined to discuss the specific nature of the attack in detail, citing security reasons.

Nevertheless, the FBI issued a warning in November saying Iranian government hackers had breached the “environmental control network” at an unidentified children’s hospital in the United States last June. Leading many to assume the same was targeted in Boston. The environmental control network refers to the hospital’s HVAC system.

What it Means

In the case of ransomware, hospitals can face devastating system shutdowns. Patient data can be made inaccessible to hospital staff, it can be damaged, or it can be stolen and sold. A ransomware attack compromised a Vermont hospital’s patient record system in October 2020, and patients have turned away as a result.

Nation-states and hacker groups are probing healthcare organizations and looking for areas to exploit. This past November, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an alert for an Iran-sponsored hacker group targeting healthcare. As the Russia-Ukraine war drags on, federal agencies say U.S. healthcare organizations need to be “shielded up” to mitigate against potential foreign threats.

The FBI is “racing” to warn possible healthcare targets of data breaches when it comes to Russia and other state-sponsored attacks. According to Wray, China’s hackers have stolen more business and personal data from Americans than all other countries combined as part of an enormous geopolitical ambition to “lie, cheat, and steal their way into global denominations of global industries.”

All hospitals and healthcare organizations must sit up and take notice. It is not only hacktivist groups and employees they need to worry about, today. But nation-states as well.

 

Cyber Attack On Hospital

Protected Harbor’s Take On The Issue

Protected Harbor has been monitoring the situation for a long time and continues to emphasize cybersecurity. Richard Luna, CEO of Protected Harbor, said this is a severe issue, and we advise all our clients to take precautionary measures and make sure their systems are secure and protected.

He suggested 3 simple tips to harden your servers, which every company should implement immediately.

1. Update the operating systems on your servers regularly.

The most crucial action you can take to secure your servers is to keep their operating systems up to date. On a nearly daily basis, new vulnerabilities are discovered and publicized, with the potential for remote code execution or local privilege escalation.

2. Enforce The Use Of Strong Passwords

Enforcing the usage of strong passwords across your infrastructure is an important security measure. Attackers will have a harder time guessing passwords or cracking hashes to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive systems. A smart place to start is with 10-character passwords that include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Password guessing attacks can be stopped by combining a strong password policy with a powerful account robust policy that locks accounts after a few erroneous tries.

3. Use local protection mechanisms such as firewalls and anti-virus software.

Local protection measures and estate-wide controls like patching, domain configuration, and border fire-walling are critical for offering a defense-in-depth approach.

The chance of unneeded default services being exposed to the broader network is reduced when a host’s local firewall is configured correctly. Even if your patching schedule has fallen behind, it will still prevent an attacker from accessing critical network services. While not fool proof, this all-or-nothing strategy can distinguish between compromise and attacker frustration.

With so much at stake, it’s essential to ensure your business has a robust IT audit plan. With the help of a trusted IT auditing company like Protected Harbor, you can be sure that your systems are secure and functioning at peak efficiency. Because The FBI won’t always be there, but Protected Harbor will.

Sign up to get a risk-free IT Audit and see how you can improve your security. We will analyse your business from top to bottom and give recommendations on making your company safer. What are you waiting for? Get Protected!

Wellstar Health System reveals data breach

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How to avoid being the next Wellstar Health Systems

Wellstar Health System announced on Friday afternoon that its email system had been hacked.

Well, it happened again. A data breach occurred at yet another healthcare firm. This time, it was Wellstar Health System. Unauthorized attackers obtained access to two email accounts two months ago, the organization discovered on Friday. Through those email accounts, gained access to patients’ health care information and it was exposed, including patient laboratory information. They missed the 2021 Healthcare Data Breach Trend Report from Protected Harbor at HIMSS.

Emails are one of the most common ways that hackers access sensitive information. This is because people often use their work email for personal purposes, so it is easier to get access to it. Hackers can use different methods and tricks to an email account. They might trick health workers into sharing their passwords, or they could send them a virus that tries to steal employee passwords from company computers.

If you are reading this, you understand that it’s essential to keep any critical emails secure when handling sensitive information. After all, Patient Health Information (PHI) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) can earn a few hundred dollars each on the dark web. That means healthcare employees are more targeted by hackers. And still, many healthcare organizations are not taking the proper steps to protect company email from hacking.

This article will go over how to defend yourself against important threats and what email security precautions you should take.

Install the Right Software

One of the essential email security precautions you can take is installing the right software to protect your emails. Many software options offer various levels of protection, so find out which one will work best for your needs. If you’re in healthcare, consider higher levels of security because you have a lot more sensitive information. Healthcare IT staff may also want to invest in Malwarebytes, a well-rounded antivirus solution, to provide another layer of protection against hacking.

Spam Hero is a software that looks for spam scans messages for infections before it reaches the Stopping malware emails before reaching an inbox can help keep hackers out of any sensitive documents you may come across in the future. Think how many emails with attachments are sent each day; if they were all scanned before recipients could open them, this would significantly decrease the chances of hackers getting a hold of sensitive information like PHI and EHR.

Monitor Your Inbox Activities

One of your email inboxes has received ten emails in one day. However, you only get about two a day, you do not remember sending out any emails that day, and it’s a Sunday. Is there a cybersecurity breach on your network? It could indicate that someone is trying to gain access to company information and has begun by accessing people’s email accounts. Monitor account activity regularly, and if you notice anything suspicious, have a playbook to implement additional security measures if you see something odd. Set up a new email address if necessary and measures such as multifactor authentication or changing all passwords. It is also important to routinely change passwords, even when there is no evidence of a breach; no system is perfect, and it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Educate your Employees & Staff

As exposed recently, hackers find new ways to trick healthcare employees into giving up sensitive information. Here are four easy things every HCIT department can do to improve their company’s employee cyber safety awareness:

  1. Encourage employees to come forward if they suspect an email of being bogus.
  2. Educate employees on what dangerous emails might look like. A recent study showed that over a quarter of doctors could not identify a malware email.
  3. Tell your employees not to open attachments unless 100% confident that it is a trusted source. Installing a filter those auto-checks attachments is even better.
  4. Have an Email Password Checklist for all of your employees.

We all have complex emails, but make it a requirement, set up failsafes to avoid re-used passwords, and help make it easier for your staff with some tips and how-tos. These simple tips will help protect against email cyber-attacks.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts and protect yourself against email cyber-attacks. 2FA prevents hackers from simply guessing passwords and lets you focus on protecting other healthcare network vulnerabilities. By implementing these simple steps, you can protect your business and its data without adding too much time or hassle into everyday workflows.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from hacking is to turn on two-factor authentication. 2FA will help ensure your information is more secure, and it doesn’t take much more time or effort than what you were doing before.

You might think it’s unnecessary to use two-step verification when you already have high-end cybersecurity software, but that is not true. Software and two-step verification work together to make sure your information is safe. A bad actor can bypass a security measure, so it’s necessary to have other protections in place too. This is where software and 2FA come in handy again.

Wellstar Health System feature

Use Encryption

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from hackers is by using encryption. Encryption scrambles the content of your email so that only you and the intended recipient can read it. It means that if a hacker does manage to intercept your email, they won’t be able to understand what it says. Even if they could break the encryption, any sensitive information in your email will be rendered indecipherable.

One such solution is ProtonMail, a secure email service that encrypts all of your messages by default. The only person who can decrypt your email is someone you sent it to or someone in the same organization (if they have a shared account).

Protect your Physical Computer and Network

Cybersecurity does not produce images of big burly security guards, but physical computer and network safety are just as crucial as virtual. This means having physical security checkpoints at entrances and exits of your healthcare organization. It would help if you also were careful about which devices employees plug into the network. Just because a power strip is plugged in doesn’t mean that it’s safe to plug in their mobile device.

Auto-lock and Remote Wipe Apps

Just think of how many texts you receive each day. You might likely be one of the unlucky people who have had their phone hacked. All someone needs to do is get a hold of your phone, and they can easily access any sensitive information on it, including work passwords. It may seem like locking your phone is a no-brainer, but not every employee does it. If your company hands out company phones or lets employees use their personal phones for work email, then decrease the auto-lock time to 30 seconds and install remote wiping.

Remote wipe is a security feature that allows a network administrator or device owner to send a command to a computer device that erases data. It’s usually used to wipe data from a lost or stolen device so that the information isn’t jeopardized if it comes into the wrong hands. It can also be used to erase data from a device that has changed owners or administrators and is no longer accessible physically.

Closing Thoughts

There are no easy answers when it comes to healthcare cybersecurity and email security. All of the things described above, and more, could have been performed by Wellstar Health System. Finally, attacks are growing more sophisticated, data is becoming more readily available, network connection points are rising, and healthcare IT professionals are being spread thin. When it comes to safeguarding your healthcare networks and servers, the first step is to determine which employees have access to sensitive information and which staff require specific data access.

Any strategy must also be adaptable and responsive to changes as they occur. Protected Harbor focuses on more than just software but hardware integration, special application connectivity, and employee workflows to create an always-safe environment. It is likely that at some point, HCIT will need to seek professional help to tackle the security breaches, so it is better to assign the task of managing the system security to an external agency. This way, you will no longer have to worry about data and network security, and your team will be able to focus on medical-related tasks.

An experienced, outside partner can help you see the bigger picture. Protected Harbor has the best practice knowledge on securing managed file transfers, HIPAA-compliant emails, data management, and security. We make sure your data is safe by using robust auditing and encryption technology that meets or exceeds HIPAA requirements for healthcare organizations.

Check out our 2021 Healthcare Data Breach Trend Report from HIMSS and our free eBook Optimizing the Healthcare Stack for Performance to learn more. We are also offering free IT Audits to all healthcare organizations for the next month following this attack. Reach out to schedule one today.

You’ve been breached! What’s next?

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data breach

Privacy is a scarce commodity in today’s online environment. Big corporations, such as healthcare, know everything there is to know about you, thanks to data brokers who collect and consolidate all the data crumbs you leave when you surf the web. However, this invasion of privacy pales in comparison to the consequences of a criminal hacking team digging deep into your personal data. Hackers cash in on their illicit access to your life as soon as possible, preferably before you even realize there’s an issue.

“After a data breach, what is the most critical next step you should take?”
According to some experts, the year 2022 will be the most significant in terms of data breaches ever. Your personal life will be exposed sooner or later. If you find out you’ve been hacked, what should you do?

We set out to seek some expert advice from data security specialists on what they consider the best procedures for dealing with a data breach. We’ve also put together this free-to-download white paper on the 2021 data breach trends and threats, including research findings and expert advice.

Different Types of Cyber-Attacks to Recognize

Unfortunately, any company can be subjected to a data breach or a cyber attack. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is; if your data, key papers, or client information is compromised, recovering from the fallout could be challenging.

Cyber-attacks come in a variety of forms. The following are a few of the most common:

Phishing is a social engineering scam that falsely uses email to gain sensitive information. This is the most typical hacking approach for getting an employee to open an attachment or click on a link. Hackers use phishing attacks to acquire direct access to a target’s email, social media, or other accounts and modify or compromise associated systems like point-of-sale equipment and order processing systems.

Ransomware is malicious software that prevents users from accessing a computer system unless a sum of money (or ransom) is paid or another action is taken. Viruses, worms, and trojan horses get access to a computer and then destroy it. Hackers force victims to pay a ransom, usually in bitcoin, to unlock their systems. Cyber-attack victims have spent millions of dollars to regain access to their networks in some circumstances.

Unencrypted Data – This is plaintext or data that has not been altered and can be accessed by anyone. This might be critical data kept online on cloud servers with no security measures. By encrypting your data, you may protect yourself from brute force attacks and cyberattacks like malware and ransomware. Data is safeguarded via encryption when sent to the cloud or on a computer system.

What Are The Steps To Take After a Data Breach?

If your company has been the victim of a data breach and you’re not sure what to do next, follow these measures to assist minimize the damage:

1. Keep Your Cybersecurity Breach Under Control

While removing everything following a data breach may be tempting, evidence preservation is critical for understanding how the breach occurred and who was involved. After a breach, you should first determine which servers have been compromised and isolate them as quickly as possible to avoid infecting additional servers or devices.

Here are a few things you can do right now to try to stop a data breach:

What to do if you’re the victim of a cyber-attack:

  • Turn off your internet.
  • Remote access should be disabled.
  • Keep your firewall settings intact.
  • Install any security updates or fixes that are available.
  • Passwords should be changed regularly.

All passwords that are affected or susceptible should be changed right away. For each account, create a fresh, strong password, and avoid using the same password on numerous accounts. If a data breach occurs again in the future, the damage may be reduced.

2. Examine the Security Breach

If you are a victim of a more significant attack that has impacted several firms, make sure you stay up to current developments from reputable sources watching the situation. Hence, you know what to do next. Whether you’re a victim of a more significant attack or the only victim, you’ll need to figure out what caused the breach at your particular facility so you can act to prevent it from happening again. Consider the following questions:

  • Who has access to the virus-infected servers?
  • When the incident happened, which network connections were active?
  • How did the attack start?

Checking your firewall or email providers’ security data logs, your antivirus application, or your Intrusion Detection System’s logs may assist you in finding out how the incident occurred. Consider hiring a trained cyber investigator if you’re having trouble pinpointing the source and scope of the breach; it might be worth the investment to help you secure yourself in the future.

Determine who has been impacted by the breach.
You’ll also need to figure out who was impacted by the breach, such as employees, customers, and third-party vendors. Determine what information was accessed or targeted, such as birthdays, mailing addresses, email accounts, and credit card numbers, to determine the data breach’s severity.

Educate your employees on data breach procedures.

Your staff should be informed of your company’s data security procedures. Adjust and disclose your security policies after determining the source of the breach to help prevent a repeat of the situation. Consider limiting data access to your staff. You should also train your personnel to regularly prepare for or avert a data breach.

3.     Manage the Repercussions of Your Cyber-Attack

Managers and staff should be notified about the violation.

Inform your employees about the situation. Establish clear permissions for team members to communicate internally and externally about the problem. While your company recovers from a data breach, it’s critical to be on the same page with your employees. To identify the appropriate way to notify your customers of the breach, you may need to seek legal guidance.

Notify your insurer if you have cyber liability insurance.

Cyber liability insurance is designed to help you recover from a data breach or cyber security attack. As quickly as possible, contact your carrier to see how they can help you with what to do following a cyber-attack. Suppose you don’t already have a cyber liability insurance policy. In that case, AmTrust’s authorized agents will help you choose one that will cover the costs of dealing with future cyber catastrophes as well as identifying possible cyber exposures.

Customers should be informed.

Consider establishing a special action hotline dedicated to answering queries from affected folks to demonstrate your commitment to be transparent with your customers. Maintaining solid and professional connections with your customers can be difficult without effective communication.

A data breach can be stressful, but your company will be better equipped to recover if you take the proper precautions. Conduct regular security inspections in the future to help prevent the probability of a similar incident occurring.

How To Report Cyber Crimes

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam, take the following steps:

  • If you have one, contact your IT/security department.
  • Contact your financial institution right away to request a fund recall.
  • Report any abnormalities with payroll deposits to your employer.
  • Inform the Internet Crime Complaint Center about the attack (IC3). They’ll pass it on to federal, state, municipal, or foreign authorities. Make touch with your credit card company as well.
  • If you’re disputing illegal transactions made on your card by scammers, or if you fear your card number has been compromised, tell them.
  • If you or your company has been a victim of a network intrusion, data breach, or ransomware assault, please get in touch with your local FBI field office or report it online at tips.fbi.gov.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to keep the consequences of data breaches to a minimum. You must take the necessary precautions and remain vigilant. However, the effort required is far less than the Herculean challenge of regaining your identity after hackers have stolen it.

If you have been notified that your company has been breached, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. There are a few simple steps you can take to mitigate the damage and protect your data. Many businesses find themselves in this situation, and thankfully, some professionals can help. Protected Harbor is a leader in data breach response and protection and is here to help you get through this difficult time. We offer a range of services to our clients, including breach notification, 24×7 remote monitoring, phishing, ransomware safety, remote backup, protected data center, and much more. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you protect your data.

The top cyberattacks and healthcare data breaches of 2021

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The healthcare industry is in a state of flux. The changes it’s been undergoing over the past decade — including widespread digitization, external attacks, and internal threats — have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office statistics, we can see that healthcare organizations are routinely targeted for their sensitive data and are falling victim to a wide array of cyberattacks. The consequences are more than financial: As demonstrated by the Equifax breach, medical information is highly personal and has a devastating impact when exposed.

The 2021 Healthcare Data Breach Report examines the trends behind the latest cybersecurity attacks on healthcare organizations and highlights the most pressing threats of 2020 so you can protect your organization from future attacks.

In this infographic, we dive into the details of these incidents. We examine:

• Who is being attacked and how?
• What are the top attacks and threats of the year?
• How much does it cost to recover from a breach?
• And what can you do to protect your organization?

Zero Trust Security Models: Why are They Important for Healthcare?

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With the growth of technology, the risk of cyber-attacks has increased. The attack surface, security, and network architecture of an organization are all affected by digital transformation. Systems, individuals, and healthcare organizations need secure ways to connect to the internet while staying safe from dangerous actors. Zero Trust is a security methodology that helps security experts and professionals join different cybersecurity solutions to create a secure environment.

Healthcare businesses can use a zero-trust security paradigm to protect their interconnected networks and devices while securing sensitive health data.

In this article, we will learn a lot about the Zero Trust security model. Let’s first understand what Zero Trust is.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a strategic initiative that helps prevent data breaches by eliminating the concept of trust from the company’s network infrastructure. The Zero Trust principle, “never trust, always verify,” is intended to safeguard modern digital ecosystems. It’s a security framework that requires all users to be authorized, authentic, and continuously validated for security configurations before being granted access to data and applications.

It’s a security approach based on the idea of stringent network access control and not trusting anyone, even those who are currently inside the network perimeter. The fundamental principle of the Zero Trust model is least-privileged access assuming that no application or user should be inherently trusted. Trust is established based on the user identity and context, such as the security posture of the endpoint device, the user’s location, and the app or services being requested.

How does Zero Trust work?

Executing the Zero Trust framework combines the latest technologies, such as identity protection, network access control, multi-factor authentication, next-generation endpoint security, and the maintenance of system security. It also requires consideration of securing email, data encryption, and verifying the protection of assets and endpoints before connecting to the application. Zero Trust is significantly different from conventional network security models following the “trust but verifies” method. This approach trusted endpoints and users within the organization’s perimeters and put them at risk from malicious internal actors.

Therefore, the zero Trust security model requires companies to continuously monitor and validate that users have the right attributes and privileges. It also requires enforcement of the policy incorporating compliance or other requirements before allowing the transaction. One-time validation is insufficient because user attributes and threats are all subject to change. That’s why Zero Trust policies rely on real-time visibility into identity attributes, such as

  • User Identity and credential type
  • Privilege and number of each credential on each device
  • Endpoint hardware type and function
  • Firmware versions
  • Geolocation
  • Authentication protocol and risk
  • Application installed on endpoints
  • Operating system versions and patch levels
  • Security or incident detection

Organizations should assess their IT infrastructure and potential attack path to minimize the risk of a data breach.

Why is it necessary to implement the zero trust model in healthcare?

Given the future’s interconnected nature, with IoMT devices, augmented reality, robotics, and other technologies, most healthcare companies’ present perimeter-based security approach will no longer be viable. Healthcare organizations must continue to invest in the fundamentals while transitioning to a Zero Trust model from the castle-and-moat strategy to stay ahead of these changes.

Protected Harbor claims that adopting a single tool or platform isn’t enough to achieve zero-trust security. Typically, the method includes technologies from a variety of categories, such as:

  • Device security
  • Network security
  • Data security
  • Workload security
  • Access and identity management
  • Tools for gaining visibility
  • Platforms for orchestration

Organizations require a zero-trust network architecture to protect their data regardless of location and ensure that applications run smoothly and fast to stay competitive.

Stages for implementing Zero Trust

Shifting to a zero-trust architecture is a significant undertaking. Still, with the appropriate champions in place and well-thought-out plans and processes, the initial pain of deploying new security standards will be worth it.

According to a recent analysis by IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute, healthcare data breaches and ransomware attacks can cost upwards of $9.23 million per occurrence.

Each organization’s needs are different. But in general, the following steps help implement a mature Zero Trust model.

  • Visualize_ understand all resources, access points, and the associated risks.
  • Mitigate_ detect, and halt threats or reduce the impact of attacks or breaches if they can not be stopped immediately.
  • Optimize_ extend security to each aspect of the IT infrastructure and resources, regardless of location.

What are the Zero Trust Model’s guiding principles?

Here are the core principles of the Zero Trust security model.

Continuous monitoring and validation

The Zero Trust paradigm is based on the assumption that hackers are both outside and inside the network. As a result, neither machine nor the user should be trusted blindly. Zero Trust verifies privileges and user identity, and device security and identity.

Least privilege

Another core principle of the Zero Trust security model is least privilege access, giving users only required access. It minimizes each user’s liability to sensitive parts of the network. The least privilege is a technique for managing user permissions. This authorization approach is not well-suited for a virtual private network (VPN). Because connecting to a VPN grants access to the entire network connected to it.

Device & network access control

The Zero Trust approach necessitates stringent device and network access control in addition to user access control. This system needs to monitor how many devices try to access their network and ensure authorization. Moreover, it assesses all devices to ensure they have not been compromised. It reduces the network’s attack surface even more.

Micro-segmentation

Zero Trust security model supports micro-segmentation. It’s a fundamental principle of cybersecurity that allows businesses to isolate network resources so that any cyber attacks can be contained and not spread throughout the company. They can protect sensitive data and systems by implementing granular policies enforced by role-based access control.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA is also a core principle of the Zero Trust security model. Multi-factor authentication means requiring more than one authentication piece; just entering a password is not enough to access a device or system. The most common application of MFA is the two-factor authentication (2FA) used on social media platforms, such as Google and Facebook.

Conclusion

Zero trust enables companies to automate authentication processes in healthcare, allowing hospitals and health systems to focus on patient care rather than the aftermath of a cyberattack.

Implementing a Zero Trust security model is a complex and continuous process. However, organizations do not need to simultaneously apply all of the Zero Trust principles. They can start implementing this trust model with small steps, such as defining and classifying all of the organization’s resources, implementing a proper user verification process, and granting access to privileged users only. Designing and implementing a zero trust model required security experts to focus on business concepts. The Zero Trust security model returns immediate gains through risk mitigation and security control regardless of the starting point.

For each endpoint and cloud workload, identity, and data, security for the most crucial areas of organizational risk to stop breaches in real-time. Protected Harbor’s Zero Trust solution is compliant with NIST 800-207 standards. It maximizes Zero Trust coverage across your hybrid enterprise to secure and enable people, processes, and technologies that drive modern enterprise security with built-in protection for high-risk areas like identity and data.

Devices, networks, data, and workloads should be secured, and IAM, visibility tools, automation, and orchestration platforms should all be used. When you partner with Protected Harbor, we’ll take care of all of these issues for you with a tailor-made plan.

What is Penetration Testing & How will it prevent your next data breach?

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What is Breach of Data & Pentesting & Why Should All HCIT Demand It?

Businesses of all sizes have become increasingly reliant on workforce mobility, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital media as technology advances. Data breaches have gained widespread popularity as sensitive business data is stored on local machines, cloud servers, and enterprise databases. Breaching a company’s data has become as simple as gaining access to restricted networks.

Healthcare businesses may have technology and policies in place to prevent data theft, but finding every security flaw is tough.
To assist defend your network and electronic Patient Health Information (PHI), look at your environment through the eyes of a hacker. Penetration testing, often known as ethical hacking, is the process of examining network settings, finding potential vulnerabilities, and attempting to exploit those weaknesses in the same way that a hacker would. These people, on the other hand, are on your side.

Penetration testing is important for your security and can help you comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Before proceeding further, let’s first have a brief introduction about the breach of data.

What is a data breach?

A data breach is a security incident that results in the disclosure of protected or secret data. It may involve the loss or theft of your credit card numbers or bank account information, Social Security number, password or emails, and personal health information. Data breaches can have a wide range of consequences for both businesses and individuals. These are costly expenses that can damage reputations and take time to repair.

Corporations and businesses are attractive targets to cybercriminals due to a large amount of sensitive data. More and more information has been moving to the digital world as technology progresses. A data breach can be accidental or intentional. Cybercriminals hack the company database where you have shared your personal information, or an employee of that company may expose your data accidentally on the Internet.

Recent Data Breach Statistics

Healthcare businesses are faced with a plethora of possible security risks in today’s ever-changing (and sometimes turbulent) cyber landscape, particularly those that target personal data. More than 1000 data breaches were reported to the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2020. It’s shocking that many firms aren’t putting enough money into their cybersecurity strategy, given the tremendous increase in incidents this year alone.

“Where should we target our IT budgets to avoid a repetition of 2021 and avoid exposing enormous volumes of patient data in the future year?” is the issue as we approach 2022.

According to research, the average cost to a company of a data breach is $3.86 million. Since the COVID-19 pandemic situation has forced companies to move their businesses online, there has been a significant increase in data breaches. A recent Kaspersky report says that around 726 million reported cyber-attacks occurred since the start of the year 2020.

The rapid adoption of remote working in all businesses created large gaps in cybersecurity, due to which there is an increase in cyberattacks and security threats. According to a cybersecurity company Malwarebyte’s report, remote working caused nearly 20% of cybersecurity incidents in 2020. The report also showed that remote workers use their devices instead of ones issued by their companies.

A network security vulnerability is a flaw or weakness that can be exploited by hackers to perform unauthorized actions. Malicious software or malware is developed with the intent of harming companies and individuals by doing data breaches. Malware attacks have become more sophisticated with the rising trend of machine learning and targeted phishing emails. 92% of the malware is delivered by email. Web-based and malware attacks are the two most costly types of attacks. Companies spent an average of U.S $2.4 million in defense.

The average cost of data breaches to organizations worldwide is $3.86 million. It takes companies an average of 207 days to identify data breaches. Data breaches have become more persuasive in the interconnected world, so it is important to understand modern-day cyberattacks. Here are some of the most recent data breaches or cyber-attacks in 2020.

  • In dark web crime forums, nearly 500,000 stolen Zoom passwords are available for sale in 2020.
  • MGM Resorts suffered a massive data breach that leaked 142 million personal details of guests.
  • The hotel Marriot faced a security breach in 2020, resulting in the leak of more than 5.2 million guests who used the company’s loyalty application.
  • Twitter breach well-coordinated scam made cybercriminals steal $121,000 in Bitcoin through 300 transactions.
  • Magellan Health was stuck by a data breach and a ransomware attack stating that 365,000 patients were affected due to a sophisticated cyber-attack.

What is Pentesting or Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the manual process of assessing a network or an application for security vulnerabilities. It is a method to explore your IT environment and identify how cybercriminals or hackers can exploit the exposed vulnerabilities. Pentesting is also known as ethical hacking. It involves your penetration testers mimicking the attacker’s act with permission.

How pentesting can help prevent data breaches?

Hiring an ethical hacker to get into your network, website, Wi-Fi, or any other component of your infrastructure is a type of penetration testing that can help you find important weaknesses before they are exploited. Although time-consuming, the procedure can save money and protect a company’s reputation from the financial and reputational damage that real-world hacking can do. Many compliance regimes, such as HIPAA, encourage or mandate regular testing.

One of the most common threats that companies face is insider threats. These include data breaches and malicious attacks to steal information or compromise systems. The loss of data can be mitigated or prevented with effective penetration testing. Only a few companies are aware of pentesting and its benefits, while others leave themselves open to data breaches.

The pentesting processes help you discover blind spots that attackers use to breach your cybersecurity network. It helps improve your security posture and allows you to prioritize the vulnerabilities based on possible risks associated with them. Penetration testing involves examining all possible attack surfaces before a real data breach.

The best way to protect your organization from cybercriminals is to detect the weaknesses before them. Identify the vulnerabilities first and then find ways to exploit them just as hackers do. You can do it by scanning your systems, network, operation systems, and applications.

How do GDPR and law impact the data breaches?

Under the GDPR, organizations that process EU personal data are responsible for disclosing data breaches to data protection authorities with a 72-hour notification deadline. It not only applies to European companies but also to an organization that does business in Europe or holds European personal data. It means that companies around the globe processing EU data need to prepare for compliance with GDPR.

Businesses all over the world have begun to strengthen their cybersecurity as a result of GDPR. Because if your company is not fully compliant with the law’s impact and new regulations on data security, then you are expected to lose a lot of money from GDPR fines. These are based on the severity of non-compliance and the negligence from a company that causes a data breach.

If the companies do not have the progress in place to notify the consumers within the deadline, they have to pay a fine of 10 million euros or 2 percent of annual global turnover. For the severe faults like violating the requirement of Privacy by Design or not obtaining the customer consent for data processing, the fine is raised to 20 million euros or 4 percent of annual global turnover.

Conclusion

The type of assaults to which a company is vulnerable is influenced by its IT environment. Defects in online browsers, software, operating systems, and server interfaces, for example, can enable attackers to obtain access to a system.

As a result, each security strategy should be adapted to the specific network environment. Independent penetration testing can reveal many of the flaws typically discovered in application code (especially home-grown varieties) and is the best way to spot flaws before they are deployed.

Penetration tests should be performed whenever your company makes a big network update. Determine what kind of penetration testing your environment requires (e.g., segmentation checks, internal, and/or external penetration tests), as well as who should do these tests e.g., in-house staff or you can partner with a security solutions provider to do it for you.

Penetration test reports usually include a long, thorough description of the attacks utilized, testing techniques, and remediation recommendations. Protected harbor addresses the recommendations in the penetration test report and patch the discovered vulnerabilities in priority order.

To avoid data breaches, Protected Harbor assists customers in closing security and compliance gaps. Our forensic, penetration testing and audit teams find best security practices and make compliance demands easier to understand (PCI DSS, HIPAA, HITRUST, GDPR). Contact us and take the next step to security.

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Should you Trust the Zero Trust Security Model?

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The Cybersecurity threat landscape in healthcare has evolved so rapidly that it has become difficult to trust anyone in your network infrastructure. Who can...