Diagnosing Healthcare’s Breach Epidemic
Using access credentials stolen from co-workers or stolen laptops, unethical healthcare insiders are among the most prolific at stealing and selling patient data of any insider threat across any industry. Accenture’s study, “Losing the Cyber Culture War in Healthcare: Accenture 2018 Healthcare Workforce Survey on Cybersecurity,” found that the most common ways healthcare employees financially gain from stealing medical records is to commit tax return and credit card fraud.
Treating healthcare’s breach epidemic needs to start by viewing every threat surface, access point, identity, and login attempt as the new security perimeter. Healthcare providers urgently need to take a “never trust, always verify” approach, adopting Zero Trust Security to protect every threat surface using Next-Gen Access for end-user credentials and Privileged Access Management (PAM) for privileged credentials. One of the leaders in Next-Gen Access is Idaptive, a newly created spin-off of Centrify. Centrify itself is offering Zero Trust Privilege Services helping over half of the Fortune 100 to eliminate privileged access abuse, the leading cause of breaches today. Centrify Zero Trust Privilege grants least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.
18% of healthcare employees are willing to sell confidential data to unauthorized parties for as little as $ 500 to $ 1,000, according to a recent Accenture study. 24% of employees know of someone who has sold access to patient data to outsiders. 58% of all healthcare breaches are initiated by insiders. Confidential patient diagnosis, treatment, payment histories, and medical records are the most valuable on the Dark Web, selling for as much as $ 1,000 per record according to Experian.
Key insights from Protenus’ Breach Barometer illustrate how healthcare’s breach epidemic is growing exponentially:
- There’s been a staggering 298.4% growth in the number of patient records breached as a result of insider-wrongdoing this year alone. In Q1 of this year, there were 4,597 patient records exfiltrated by insider wrong-doing, jumping to 70,562 in Q2 and soaring to 290,689 in Q3. Healthcare insiders can easily thwart healthcare systems’ legacy security approaches today by using compromised access credentials. Zero Trust Security, either in the form of Next-Gen Access for end-user credentials or Zero Trust Privilege for privileged access credentials has the potential to stop this
- The total number of breached patient records has soared from 1.1M in Q1 of this year to 4.4M in Q3, a 58.7% jump in less than a year. Protenus found a total of 117 incidents were disclosed to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the media in Q3 2018 alone. Details were disclosed for 100 of these incidents, affecting 4,390,512 patient records, the highest level ever recorded. Jumping from 1.1M medical records in Q1 to 4.4M in Q3, healthcare providers could easily see over 6.5M records breached in Q4 2018 alone.
- Hackers targeted healthcare systems aggressively in Q3 of this year, exfiltrating 3.6M patient records in just 90 days. Compromised access credentials are hackers’ favorite technique for exfiltrating massive quantities of medical records they resell on the Dark Web or use to commit tax and credit card fraud. Healthcare providers need to minimize their attack surfaces, improve audit and compliance visibility, reduce risk, complexity, and costs across their modern, hybrid enterprises with Zero Trust. Healthcare providers need to shut down hackers now, taking away the opportunities they’re capitalizing on to exfiltrate medical records almost at will.
- It takes 71 days on average for healthcare providers to realize their data is breached with one breach lasting over 15 years. Protenus found a wide variation in the length of time it takes healthcare providers to realize they’ve been breached and one didn’t know until 15 years after the initial successful breach. All breaches tracked by Protenus found that the insiders and/or hackers were successful in gaining access to a wealth of patient information including addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, healthcare providers, visit date, health insurance information, financial histories, and payment information.
Zero Trust is the antidote healthcare needs to treat its raging breach epidemic. It’s exponentially growing as insiders’ intent on wrongdoing turn to exfiltrating patients’ data for personal gain. Hackers also find healthcare providers’ legacy systems among the easiest to access using stolen access credentials, exfiltrating millions of records in months. With every new employee and device being a new security perimeter on their networks, the time is now for healthcare providers to discard the old model of “trust but verify” which relied on well-defined boundaries. Zero Trust mandates a “never trust, always verify” approach to access, from inside or outside healthcare providers’ networks.