Tag Archive for: Change Healthcare

From Reactive to Proactive: Transforming Healthcare Cybersecurity Post-Change Healthcare Attack

Change Healthcare, a major player in the healthcare technology sector, fell victim to a ransomware attack in February and is quickly heading towards a billion dollars in loss. The breach disrupted its operations and potentially compromised sensitive patient data. The attackers, ALPHV, also known as BlackCat and Noberus, exploited vulnerabilities in the company’s IT infrastructure, likely through phishing emails or other means, to gain unauthorized access to their systems. This breach not only posed a significant threat to patient privacy but also raised concerns about the integrity of healthcare data and the reliability of essential services.

In the landscape of healthcare, where interconnected IT, operational technology (OT), and Internet of Things (IoT) networks are the norm, it’s inhumanly difficult to understand the whole attack surface.  This is why experts and regulators advise adopting a proactive approach to security with best practices including segmentation – keep separate things apart, so that an attacker cannot easily spread from one place to another.  Defenders of healthcare networks need automated assessment of their defensive posture, to uncover gaps and ensure good hygiene ahead of the next attack.

Healthcare administrators must fortify network infrastructure with stringent policies, including robust password enforcement, firewall configurations, and access controls. Vigilant monitoring and configuration of all connected devices, from medical equipment to personal devices, are imperative. Employing strong encryption further enhances data security, deterring cyber intrusions.

Another best practice is implementing a framework such as NIST and MITRE ATT&CK as part of your comprehensive cyberdefense efforts. Take for example another high-growth healthcare organization. Managing 20,000 clinicians and 150,000 medical devices, taking a proactive approach to network visibility and vulnerability prioritization is critical. As cyberattacks have become more sophisticated, healthcare organizations must be proactive and adopt best practices to, as this health system’s cybersecurity expert put it, “prepare the battle space.” In addition to having a dynamic map of their environment, the health system relies on the MITRE ATT&CK (adversarial tactics, techniques, and common knowledge) framework, a comprehensive knowledge base that gives security personnel key insights into attacker behavior and techniques, to help it prevent potential attacks and keep patient information, payment information, and other key data secure.

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Regular attack surface scans are essential for proactive risk mitigation, providing crucial insights for informed decision-making in cybersecurity strategy development. Prioritizing rigorous testing of all software and device updates is crucial to preempt vulnerabilities.

Secure your healthcare network comprehensively with RedSeal. Our network exposure analytics platform offers dynamic visualization of network ecosystems, empowering organizations to identify and address vulnerabilities efficiently. Partnering with leading infrastructure suppliers, we deliver unparalleled network security solutions and professional services, ensuring robust protection against evolving threats.

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Understanding the UnitedHealthcare Data Breach: The Importance of Good Segmentation

After receiving a call from KCBS to comment on the UnitedHealthcare data breach, I was reminded of the critical importance of cybersecurity measures and proactive solutions like RedSeal in safeguarding sensitive information.

The Impact on Patients and Healthcare Organizations

The repercussions of the UnitedHealthcare data breach extend beyond the confines of the company itself. Patients whose personal and medical information may have been compromised face the unsettling reality of potential identity theft, fraud, privacy breaches, and in this case, health implications with a nationwide outage of some of the largest prescription processors. Moreover, healthcare organizations are left vulnerable to reputational damage, legal liabilities, and regulatory penalties.

The swift response by Change Healthcare to halt the spread of the incident is commendable. By implementing effective containment measures and building segmentation into network design, they demonstrated the importance of proactive cybersecurity strategies especially in mitigating the impact of such breaches.

Segmentation: Building Stronger Defenses

In the face of evolving cyber threats, healthcare organizations must prioritize robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and maintain the trust of their patients. A critical step, which Change Healthcare executed effectively, is incorporating segmentation into network design. This strategic approach enabled them to isolate and contain potential threats, shutting down access swiftly.

By dividing networks into distinct segments and implementing access controls based on user roles and permissions, organizations can contain breaches and limit the lateral movement of attackers within their infrastructure.

The Importance of Transparency and Disclosure

Another noteworthy aspect of the UnitedHealthcare data breach is the transparency and prompt disclosure of pertinent details surrounding the incident. Unlike in years past, where data breaches were often shrouded in secrecy and only disclosed months or even years later, the current landscape emphasizes the importance of timely and transparent communication.

Moving Forward: Strengthening Cyber Defenses

As the healthcare industry continues to confront evolving cyber threats, proactive measures and collaborative efforts are essential to fortify defenses and safeguard sensitive information.

By embracing cybersecurity solutions and prioritizing segmentation and transparency, healthcare organizations can mitigate risks, protect patient data, and uphold the integrity of their operations. As the adage goes, “good fences make good neighbors,” and investing in robust cybersecurity defenses is paramount to safeguarding the future of healthcare.

RedSeal can play a pivotal role in enhancing security.

RedSeal acts as a vital tool in mapping out defensive boundaries within the network. It provides organizations with a comprehensive overview of their network architecture, allowing them to understand how different segments interact and where potential vulnerabilities lie. With RedSeal, organizations can accurately assess their defensive posture and make informed decisions to block moving threats before they spread.

In times of uncertainty, one thing remains clear: proactive cybersecurity measures and innovative solutions like RedSeal are indispensable allies in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. Let us heed the lessons learned from this incident and collectively work towards a safer and more secure future for all.

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