Spanish Healthcare Service Works On Resilience

The digitisation of healthcare systems and the reliance on technology to run hospitals and healthcare facilities have made the healthcare sector an attractive target for cyber criminals. Hackers know that medical devices don’t contain any patient data themselves, however, they see them as an easy target, lacking the security found on other network devices like laptops and computers.

Threats against medical devices can cause problems for healthcare organisations, giving hackers access to other network devices or letting them install costly ransomware. Secure network devices help limit the damage caused by an attack on medical devices.

In response the  rising number of cyber threats on medical organisations, Spain’s health sector is taking decisive action.

Following the regional Catalan Government allocated funds to combat cyber threats, the Spanish Private Health Alliance (ASPE) convened a forum to deal with the serious problem. This move underscores the escalating concern over cybercrime within Spain’s health sector. 

Cyber attacks on Spanish healthcare have been increasing, affecting hospitals and healthcare centres across the country. In 2022 more than 500 institutions reported incidents, which, according to data from INCIBE, the National Institute of Cybersecurity, was an increase of 48% compared to 2021. 

The  Cybercrime Threat

The health sector in Spain is facing a significant challenge. The convergence of health data at a European level further exposes patient records to potential threats. Both public and private healthcare entities in Spain, including ASPE and the Catalan government, are rallying resources to combat this menace.

According to ASPE's Director, ‘cyber security in the health system is not an option, it is something fundamental,'  highlighting the healthcare sector’s dedication to maintaining trust through robust cybersecurity measures.  These concerns are amplified by the European Union’s move towards a unified health data market, raising the stakes for data security.

However, according to analysis by leading Spanish firm, Aiuken Cybersecurity there is  a gap between ASPE's goals and the current needs of Spanish healthcare. Aiuken criticises the sector’s outdated technological infrastructures and calls for increased investment to deter cybercriminals. The principal threats faced by the health sector includ3s ransomware. Indeed, ransomware attack on one of Barcelona’ s main hospitals last year that  crippled the main computer system and forced the cancellation of 150 non-urgent operations and up to 3,000 patient appointments.

To counter these threats, solutions such as restricting access to electronic health records and enhancing training for those with access are being proposed. With a concerted effort to improve cybersecurity, including the development of action plans and regulatory advice, Spain’s health sector aims to certify under the National Security Scheme. 

This initiative is a big step towards safeguarding patient data and ensuring the integrity of healthcare services against cyber threats, which are taking place on health systems around the world.

Euro Weekly News     |    ETKHO    |    Dig Watch     |    SC Magazine     |    Security Week     |    Swivel Secure

Image: Ideogram

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