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US government launches cyber security center for healthcare

The US Department of Health and Human Service wants to launch a National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center by June. HHS Chief Information Security Officer Chris Wlaschin told about the plans at a recent ACT-IAC Mobile Health Forum panel.

The center will focus on educating healthcare organizations and patients concerning the risks of using mobile data and apps, according to Federal News Radio. It will be modeled after the Homeland Security Department’s NCCIC — only with a focus on healthcar, Healthcare IT News writes.

The planned National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center will focus not just on big healthcare organizations, but on a broad audience, Wlaschin said. “We’ve provided grants to the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center to encourage a broad participation. One that will not just try to reduce the noise but “analyze those and deliver best practices and the two or three things that a small provider, a small office, a doctor in a box can do to protect his patient’s privacy and information security around those systems.”

Healthcare IT News  believes the collaborative partnership is a logical step, as many healthcare organizations lack consistent tools to identify and mitigate cyberthreats, a July Ponemon Institute report found. HHS states the health NCCIC will let the agency collaborate with developers to improve security on patient data. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering a similar concept. Mark Scrimshire, CMS’ entrepreneur in residence told Federal News Radio.

Massive cyber attack

The neccessity for improved cyber security was only recently underscored after a massive cyber attack on the Erie County Medical Center systems. It’s systems are still down 12 days after a a virus was discovered on April 9.
 
According to the Buffalo-based hospital no patient records have been compromised, but it is still working on restoring regular functions. Hospital officials declined to confirm the attack is ransomware due to the ongoing investigation. However, Buffalo News cited sources that said the attack was indeed ransomware.

Vulnerability

Organisations in healthcare really need to start worrying about the vulnerability and security of their IT systems, their patient and other data and their connected medical equipment. last Year several reports emphasized the vulnerability of the healthcare sector.

In September 2016 Intel security released a report stating ransomware is beginning to have a real impact on the health sector. That same month security supplier Gemalto reported in its Data breach Index the health sector suffered over a quarter of all reported data breaches worldwide. And this percentage is growing.

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