Healthcare Can Protect Against WannaCry

On May 12th, a massive worldwide malware attack took place. Taking advantage of a windows security bug that was recently leaked from the NSA, criminals installed ransomware on computer systems in 150 countries. While upgrading the Windows operating system will fix the issue, a major question still has to be asked: How do we prevent this from happening in the future?

Affected by WannaCry

Ransomware

For a quick background: Ransomware is software that, when installed on your computer, locks you out of your computer and encrypts all of your data. It then will prevent you from accessing any data unless you pay the criminals a set fee to regain access to everything. In this particular case, many managed to avoid the fee because a security expert noticed a domain name in the malware and upon registering the domain name killed the malware. The criminals were using the domain name as a kill switch in case anything went wrong and upon the domain going live the malware died. Many hospitals lost their ability to function prior to the kill switch, highlighting how vulnerable our medical software infrastructure is.

Prevention

So how can one prevent this? One of the most basic ways is to keep your software up to date and have proper virus protection; however, this won’t prevent all issues, just ones that have been previously identified. It also requires you to have a dedicated team to ensure your security. Another method that can help is to put your data and program in the cloud and have it backed up by redundancies while running on its own dedicated servers. By putting it in the cloud, you could utilize better maintained and more secure systems. This also gives you the benefit of backups. If one computer or system goes down, but is utilizing the cloud, you can quickly have a backup, that’s insulated from the rest of the system, take its place. You can then access that system from a non-infected computer.

Blockchain

A new option people are looking at is utilizing blockchain technologies. A blockchain is a new type of database that is immutable, auditable, encrypted, and so far, unhackable. If a system’s data and programming are stored and run on a blockchain system, the data put on the chain s immutable, meaning that it can never be edited or changed. This means that it is virtually impossible for anyone to fraudulently edit information even by the organization running the servers. Due to the auditability, any action or change done on the system is trackable, meaning any illicit or criminal acts can be traced making it even more secure. If the users decide, all the data can be encrypted which ensures that anyone who gets access to your system wouldn’t be able to take or restrict access to useful information. And so far these systems have been proven to be incredibly secure. While the health care field would get additional major benefits from utilizing the blockchain, such as increased data sharing, the security aspect alone should be a major reason for adoption in health care. They would gain a hack proof database system.

So Who Are We

We are SimplyVital Health, a healthcare technology company utilizing Blockchain and AI to allow hospitals to securely store, share, and analyze data with outside providers and facilities. Right now, we offer a financial platform to help hospitals lower costs and mitigate risk in the new value based care environment. In addition, we provide an entirely new HIPAA secure system utilizing Blockchain and cloud technology that helps hospital and outside providers to securely share and store data of shared patients.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, email lucas@simplyvitalhealth.com