According to the 2020 report on DNS attacks around the world, 65% of respondents working in the health sector believe that DNS security is extremely important or very important for their business.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit economies hard everywhere, impacting many industrial sectors and upsetting the policies of different governments. While the tourism, culture and leisure sectors such as the petroleum sector and the retail sector seem to be hard hit, the health sector is perhaps also one of the sectors most affected by the COVID crisis. 19.
On the front line facing the virus, healthcare professionals are also the guarantors of their patients’ personal data
Health professionals are not only the first line of defense for those who have been in urgent need of medical care since the start of the pandemic, but they are also the guarantors of patient personal data which is essential for proper care. medical. In most cases, this is sensitive information: social security numbers, medical history, bank data, operation of connected objects in the context of patient care, communications between doctors, different care teams, patients and families, to name a few.
Particularly privileged DNS attacks
These tools, like this data, are prime targets for cybercriminals and DNS attacks are particularly favored. In these types of attacks, hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS), the system that translates website names into digital addresses (IP addresses) so that they are easier to manage by computers. According to the recently released 2020 DNS threat study with IDC, nearly 4 in 5 companies have experienced a DNS attack, and the average cost of each attack is around a million dollars. Among the most common types of attacks across all industries are phishing (39% of companies surveyed have experienced phishing attacks), ransomware (34%) and DDoS attacks (27%) .
Majority of healthcare professionals say DNS security is essential to their business
More than 65% of the professionals questioned in the health sector believe that DNS security is important in the context of their activity. No wonder: the consequences of DNS attacks on healthcare systems and hospitals can be dramatic. Ransomware threatens in particular the confidentiality of data and records. A recent report from Europol describes how the Brno University Hospital, one of the COVID-19 test centers in the Czech Republic, was the victim of a major ransomware attack that forced all operations to be reprogrammed . In the fall of 2019, a ransomware attack had already forced more than 100 dental offices to disconnect for several days.
In another scenario, connected medical devices could also pose a threat. If a heart rate monitor is compromised like an infusion pump, ventilator, or robotic surgical equipment, the effects could also be critical.
When an attack occurs, organizations can protect themselves in different ways. According to our study, a majority of professionals want to close the affected devices and connections in this case (55%) or deactivate several or all of the applications concerned (53%); others apply fixes to limit vulnerability (44%) or seek help from their Internet service provider or security service provider (MSSP) (44%).
Unfortunately, this type of protection can be very dangerous for patient care services. In fact, almost 29% of those questioned said that they did not prefer to close access to a server or service, stressing the importance of keeping these health services in working order to treat their patients. This is why organizations could rely more on self-repair techniques. But currently, only 19% of respondents have adopted automation in their management of network security policy.
Solutions exist to prevent the danger of a DNS attack
Healthcare organizations need to take steps to prevent and mitigate attacks by speeding up the search for threats by including DNS security and by implementing specially crafted DNS security with effective self-healing capabilities. This strategy would incorporate flexible protections to limit the damage caused by attacks.
The Zero-Trust strategy is also part of the solution. This strategy helps prevent data breaches by using strict access controls, assuming that everyone on the network is not trusted, which requires verification before granting access to resources. Currently, according to our recently published study, only 1 in 10 professionals has tested the Zero-Trust while 21% say they have tested and 40% have not yet explored this option.
While COVID-19 has accelerated the rise of telemedicine for healthcare professionals, the opportunities for attack are more numerous than ever. It is therefore time to act to strengthen DNS security in the health sector.
By Ronan David, Vice President Business Development & Marketing at EfficientIP