Why fighting cybercrime is a hard war for hospitals to win

Modern hospital security is not just about nabbing a few thieves who wander in looking for technology to grab.

Patients’ information — medical and personal — is a big prize for today’s crooks, and it’s at risk 24/7 if the proper protocols and training are not in place, reports Alexandra Boss, a health and medical journalism graduate student at the University of Georgia.

In a recent post for Georgia Health News, she explores why St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens— as well as other medical providers in Georgia and across the US— are instituting training protocols and security measures to protect patient data.

With stolen information, hackers can impersonate an individual to get medical services, open credit accounts, break into a person’s bank account, obtain drugs illegally and even blackmail people by threatening to reveal their private information.

The challenge for hospitals is to continually improve security by learning and incorporating new methods.

“The hacker needs only to find one way into the company,” said Ymir Vigfusson, assistant professor of computer science at Emory University.

“But the company needs to protect against every possible way in.”

Alexandra Boss is graduate student in the health and medical journalism program. Click here to see her full story on hospitals fighting cybercrime in Georgia Health News.