Strengthening Healthcare Cybersecurity: A Collaborative Imperative


In recent years, cyberattacks have surged, putting every segment of the nation’s healthcare system—from hospitals and physician practices to payment processing companies and biomedical facilities—under stress. These attacks disrupt patient care and cost the industry billions. Erik Decker, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Intermountain Health, emphasized the need for an “adversarial mindset” to counter these sophisticated threats during a recent U.S. News and World Report virtual event. 

Decker, who also chairs the Joint Cybersecurity Working Group of the Healthcare Sector Coordinating Council, highlighted that cybercriminals aim to maximize profits swiftly, targeting vulnerable points within the healthcare sector.

Marc Maiffret, Chief Technology Officer of BeyondTrust, explained that attackers typically infiltrate through three primary avenues: social engineering, misconfigured devices, and risky third-party connections. Social engineering often involves phishing emails or impersonation calls to service desks, where attackers request the enrollment of new devices using compromised credentials. 

Misconfigured devices exposed to the internet also provide easy entry points for attackers. The third method involves exploiting unattended remote access systems. Once inside, cybercriminals often target active directory and administrator workstations to gain critical credentials.

To bolster defenses, Decker highlighted that the Department of Health and Human Services offers resources and voluntary cybe

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