- Ever since the digital boom has galvanized the world community to embrace cutting-edge technology-driven initiatives big-time, the ease of leading life without the scruples of earlier times conventional documentation methodology has almost been relegated to the back burner. Governments are resorting to the usage of information technology like never before and the citizens too are enjoying the fruits of such measures without much complaints either. Several welfare schemes aimed at the citizens are reaching the intended beneficiaries on the back of the extensive information technology-enabled platforms. No one is complaining.
PC: Forbes Technology Council
- While reaping the benefits of technology is most welcome, the vulnerability surrounding sensitive data protection and the breach of privacy is a matter of grave concern. This aspect is in the news now. As you are aware, the Union Government has come out with a draft data protection bill envisaged to cover all bases related to the safeguarding of digitalization verticals. However, scores of gullible citizens falling prey to cybercriminals are significantly on the rise over the last few years. As you are aware, not a day passes without citizens reporting one or the other cybercrime cases to the police authorities.
- Millions of hard-earned money being wiped off by unscrupulous cyber criminals is not a good sign at all. The massive ransomware attack that has crippled e-hospital services of AIIMS, Delhi, for the last seven days highlights the increasing vulnerability of the country’s healthcare infrastructure, and possibly other critical IT systems, to cyber criminals. Remember, the premier public healthcare institute caters to around 15 lakh outpatients and 80,000 inpatients every year. Consequently, there are fears that the attackers could sell the now force-encrypted AIIMS databases that contain the personal information of patients – including political leaders, senior administrators, and judges – and their healthcare records on the Dark Web.
PC: Athik Saleh
- Mind you, what has happened to AIIMS is hardly a local phenomenon. A massive increase in cyberattacks on healthcare institutes worldwide has been witnessed during the Covid pandemic. According to research by CloudSEK, the first four months of this year saw cyberattacks on the healthcare industry increase by 95% compared to the same period last year. Disturbingly, the Indian healthcare sector was the second-most targeted globally. In July, the US government warned that American hospitals had been targeted by an aggressive ransomware campaign originating from North Korea.
- While the origin of the AIIMS attack is yet to be determined, it is clear that Indian hospitals are even more vulnerable than their American counterparts given their measly budget for cybersecurity. Plus, the increasing digitization of hospital operations and records are conducive grounds for a perfect storm to strike. As reported, the best way to combat the menace is to practice what the industry advocates, a 3-2-1 backup approach for healthcare entities, that includes saving three copies of each type of data in two different formats, including one offline. Thus, hospitals seriously need to consider this to ward off future crises.