The scourge of ransomware: Phones, wallets, and the vulnerability paradox

Hand touching online network security  button and cloud, connection and contact concept

In reflecting on how much we rely on data, it’s possible to say that we have become physical representations of it; people, companies and industries can be reconstructed as ever-expanding archives of information.

Putting trust in the digitized, invisible realm of data can have unintended implications — while data can bring confidence in thought and action, universal connectivity also carries with it the undertow of a global threat, a darker side of exploitation, blackmail, and ransomware.

Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to these cyber threats, because the challenge of sharing protected health information to treat patients wherever they are is compounded by the need to secure those patient records from hacking and theft at every step.

Ransomware is trying to compromise the data that your organization stores, every moment of each day. Anything that has an operating system, anything that is connected to the internet is vulnerable.

The majority of ransomware attacks are triggered by exposures within organizations, where inadequate technology solutions and architectures are unable to restore lost data.

In an attack, the first thing a hospital will do is try to recover data from the last backup. Understanding that, the ransomware targets backups. When that happens, there is only one way out: Paying to recover that data.

Herein lies the paradox: Paying a ransom proves you’re vulnerable.

Malicious software can leave other doors open that allow it to come back later and re-infect the system, perpetuating the cycle in the process. A lack of robust architecture and pragmatic advice leaves companies misguided and shrouded in the illusion of security.

All the while, the threat of patient records being locked down persists, effectively stopping the hospital from doing its work.

So, what can be done?

Most cybersecurity companies approach their customers as either “service” builders or external implementation arms — at Teknicor, we architect, build, design, deploy, and support our best-of-breed solutions. We are infrastructure experts, we have the appropriate partnerships, and we offer a full spectrum of solutions.

Our specialized healthcare division is an official MEDITECH Collaborative Solution provider, ensuring that our solutions work seamlessly with MEDITECH EHR platforms.

Teknicor is committed to connecting with people and providing true consulting services, understanding their needs and translating them into the functions and capabilities that today’s technology can deliver.

One example is how Teknicor subdues invisible threats by effectively detaching backups from the operating system and keeping them masked, creating three lines of defense: The outermost run by the customer and the inner two enabled by Teknicor.

This model accounts for both continuous and historic availability, enabling Teknicor to resurrect multiple customers from attack, without losing data or paying ransoms, and ensuring their continued protection moving forward.

Such sophistication is a requirement when handling complex data like patient records. Ten years ago, losing your wallet was a complete crisis, but today, if presented with the choice, you may rather lose your wallet than your phone.

We’ve come to the point where priorities have shifted in the collective consciousness — for both individuals and companies.

Data is precious, and to healthcare organizations, it means everything.


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Topics: Security, Health IT, Ransomware

Written by Sal De Masi, Global Director, Data Protection Solutions, Teknicor

Sal De Masi is the Global Director, Data Protection Solutions, at Teknicor, a global provider of data center infrastructure, data protection and managed cloud solutions. His main focus strengths are leadership, business development, communications, solutions engineering and knowing how to understand business challenges/constraints, so they can be translated via technology into dynamic solutions that offer customers savings, resiliency, scale and adaptation to changing needs.
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