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  • Writer's pictureAline Silva | PhishX

The Risk of Data Leakage in Healthcare Clinics

Health clinics deal with a lot of sensitive data, after all, professionals in this area need relevant information about their patients to determine a diagnosis or start a treatment.


With the advent of the internet and connectivity to the networks of hospital systems, which previously worked in a closed environment, today they are shared and accessed by several people.


This poses a number of risks to the security of this information, which become targets for criminals. Because this data is stored in one place, it becomes easy for malicious people to access.


Therefore, it is important to protect this information so that it does not fall into the wrong hands and health clinics end up suffering fines, loss of reputation, and financial problems.

Are data breaches common in clinics?

The information collected by the health area is extremely valuable to criminals and this tends to enhance attacks, they are:


·        Registration data;

·        Lifestyle;

·        Genetic data;

·        Health history;

·        Pictures;

·        Bank details.


This information is considered by the Data Protection Law (LGPD) as sensitive data, making the concern with it even more important.


If they fall into the wrong hands, they can generate a series of problems for clinics, but especially for employees.


As happened with Brazilian clinics that suffered hacker attacks and had nude photos of their patients leaked. In addition to the images, the criminals collected personal banking details and communications between doctor and patient. 


One of the victims suffered a ransomware attack in December 2023 but did not pay the amount demanded by the criminals as the amount was exorbitant.


He filed a complaint with the police, but his information was leaked, and he continued to receive threats.


The leakage of information in these clinics is usually common, because in addition to the record of high volumes of medical records, they are stored in systems accessed by several people.


Not to mention that many health clinics do not have a team and a good IT system to ensure the security of this information.


All of this ends up being a full plate for criminals who find several security loopholes to commit their crimes. It is important to remember that this sector deals with lives and has the largest collection of sensitive data from different segments.


That is why it is so important that this information is secure and that health clinics give due attention to all the data stored daily in their systems.

What are the risks of these leaks?

As we can see, health clinics deal with a lot of information from their patients that, if it falls into the wrong hands, can represent a series of complications.


After all, every leak is worrisome. Because they can be used in scams, attacks that can affect the healthcare market. 


This information, for example, can be used in extortion. In this way, the criminals blackmail their victims, asking for hefty sums to release this data.


In addition, hackers can steal people's identities and make purchases and banking transactions in their names.


Another very worrying action is the illegal sale of information, where cybercriminals use medical data for sales on illegal forums on the internet. These actions generate profits for criminals and countless losses for victims and clinics.


Leaks occur in several ways, such as:


·        System intrusion;

·        Device theft;

·        Phishing;

·        Ransomware Attacks.


That's why it's important for people to know how to protect themselves from these attacks, because criminals only need a small slip to enter the system and steal this information.


What to do to prevent these leaks?

To prevent data leakage in health clinics, it is important that some actions are taken. It is necessary to understand that initiatives need to be collective for risks to be mitigated.


Only with the collaboration of all people will it be possible to protect yourself from attacks. Here are some important strategies to incorporate into the work routine of health professionals.

Implement a security policy

It is important that health clinics pay attention to cybersecurity and for this to be possible, it is necessary to implement a security policy.


First of all, it is necessary to identify what data is collected, stored and processed. In this way, professionals will assess risks, identify potential threats and vulnerabilities of systems.


With this information, you can develop clear policies and procedures to protect your data. This can include access policies, data encryption, system monitoring, and mobile device management.

Create an Authentication Culture

The big problem with data related to the health clinic is that it can be accessed by several people. Therefore, it is important that this information is secure by authentication.


Which is nothing more than the combination of strong and elaborate passwords with data encryption systems. That's why it's critical that people know how to create elaborate passwords with hard-to-access combinations.


In addition, systems need to rely on two-factor authentication, this includes an extra layer of security and keeps information safe, making access to this data more difficult.

Keep systems up-to-date

Many health clinics don't pay proper attention to the devices, which can be a big risk, after all, outdated systems create security holes that can be exploited by criminals.


Security software and systems on computers and mobile devices are constantly being updated. Be aware that this feature isn't just for adding new functionality. 


These updates are very important for the security of the devices, as they are focused on resolving issues and protecting the information on these devices. Therefore, keeping them always up to date is essential.

Have an incident response plan in place

Having an incident response plan in place is critical to effectively dealing with any data security breach that may happen.


For this to occur, it is necessary to create a detailed document that describes the procedures to be followed in case of incidents aimed at data security.


The plan should include information on how to identify and report incidents, who is involved in the response, how to investigate and communicate with people. All these actions are very important for these events.


But for it to work, people need to be aware of these actions. There's no point in creating a plan and not disseminating it among the teams.

Conduct training and simulations

Training and simulations are essential to mitigate risks, because attacks are directed at people. As such, they are the ones who need to know how to identify and respond to threats.


Therefore, it is very important to conduct regular training on cybersecurity. People in healthcare clinics need to understand the different cyber threats they may face, such as phishing, ransomware, malware, and social engineering attacks. 


These clinics store a significant amount of sensitive patient information. Trainings help people understand the importance of protecting this data and the steps they can take to prevent security breaches.


Additionally, trained staff are essential for an effective response to cybersecurity incidents. They can recognize signs of suspicious activity, report them, and follow appropriate procedures to mitigate the damage and protect systems.

How Can PhishX Help Healthcare Clinics?


PhishX is an ecosystem that brings cybersecurity awareness knowledge to people. Our platform is designed to help organizations protect their data and systems from cyber threats.


We offer a range of resources and tools designed to strengthen the security posture of healthcare clinics, such as customized cybersecurity awareness trainings.


All our content can be adapted for healthcare professionals. With this, organizations are able to educate people about security risks and prevent data leaks through human error.


In addition, our platform has simulations of phishing attacks, which are important to mitigate risks. Through these simulations, it is possible to test people's maturity and identify areas of vulnerability.


This information is important for tailoring your cybersecurity policy to the needs of each team.


Speaking of an effective cybersecurity policy, it is important for the organization to maintain clear and effective communication with people. On our platform, it is possible to send communications and campaigns that talk about data security. 


PhishX can help healthcare clinics protect their data and prevent leaks by combining training, simulations, monitoring, and data protection measures into a single, integrated platform.


Caucasian woman, wearing a doctor's outfit and using a stethoscope using her cell phone.
Healthcare clinics need to mitigate data leakage risks.



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