More cyber-attack opportunities to health sector seen

By Priam Nepomuceno

September 6, 2019, 10:02 am

YANGON, Myanmar -- As the healthcare sector becomes more digital, cybercriminals are seeing more possibilities to attack this vital industry.

This was emphasized by Stephan Neumeier, Managing Director for Asia Pacific (APAC) at Kaspersky, in a statement during the start of the 5th Cyber Security Weekend here Thursday.

"As rapid digitalization penetrates the healthcare sector, cybercriminals are seeing more opportunities to attack this lucrative and critical industry, which is honestly not equipped enough to face this virtual danger,” he added.

This is clearly demonstrated with confidential medical records being hacked and breached with ease by these cybercriminals.

“Given that healthcare is a very critical sector, where a matter of second dictates the difference between life and death, it is not surprising that it evolves quicker compared with other industries. It is filled with advanced research and development because it is always under an emergency alert to cure and save human life. However, are this technological progress at par with its complex cybersecurity requirements?" Neumeier asked.

This is highlighted by the fact that attacks against hospitals and pharmaceuticals have been happening worldwide, especially in the more advanced countries in the west. The recent years, however, have seen the threat creeping towards APAC.

Reports have even projected that the medical industry in the region can incur economic losses of up to USD23.3 million from cybersecurity incidents.

Singapore, the highly-connected and considered as the technology and business hub of Asia, has suffered four data breaches concerning healthcare organizations in just 12 months.

One incident even involved health records of the country’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In 2017, the infamous Wannacry ransomware has also crippled several medical establishments in the region, particularly in China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

This targeted computers using a Microsoft Windows operating system through encrypting data and demanding ransom payments through the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. (PNA)