No matter what the industry, virtually every business battles the constant threat of a cyber attack on various levels. However, for healthcare organizations, the highly sensitive nature of the information stored throughout their networks makes them a prime target for hackers across the globe. As cybersecurity threats within the vertical continue to evolve, IT departments at healthcare organizations across the country often find themselves in a frantic, seemingly endless (and often unsuccessful) cycle of trying to keep up with the very latest network security threats and vulnerabilities.

Are you struggling to keep pace with the constantly changing network security attacks plaguing your healthcare organization? Knowing some of the most common cybersecurity vulnerabilities within your software and programs can help you increase both awareness of the problem as well as help improve security measures across your organization. Some ways your applications may be putting your networks at risk include the following:

What Are the Biggest Threats to a Healthcare Organization’s Cybersecurity?


Malware is one of the most daunting threats to a company’s cybersecurity efforts. Recent statistics reveal that over 360,000 new malware files are detected every day, making it one of the biggest risks to systems of every size and configuration. Ransomware, Trojans, and worms continue to wreak havoc on healthcare information systems due to system availability demands, which prolong patch schedules, and the continued dependency on legacy systems.


Adware is software that generally provides some level of service or convenience for free but also tracks user behavior and browsing habits (think coupon programs and search toolbars). Developers then sell the collected data to advertising agencies who, in turn, deliver targeted ads to your computer.  On the surface, adware seems annoying, yet harmless enough. However, some adware software has been explicitly designed to hijack the ads of other brands, replacing them with its own. Additionally, the long-term privacy implications of data warehousing has yet to be determined.

Outdated (Or Missing) Security Patches

With so many new network threats and cyber attacks being unleashed on a daily basis, it’s critical for healthcare IT departments to update their security patches consistently. However, many healthcare organizations simply don’t have the bandwidth or personnel to continuously keep up with the latest fixes, leaving their organizations highly vulnerability to a data breach. Yes, constantly tracking and updating your security requires extensive vigilance and hours from your staff, but the effort can save countless amounts of time, money, resources, and lost consumer trust later.

Phishing Attempts

Many healthcare organizations don’t realize how important well-rounded user awareness and secure email platforms are when protecting other software systems throughout the network. One of the biggest potential risks healthcare organizations face is an attack through email. Cyber hackers often send messages that mimic well-known brands or vendors in hopes of exploiting employees and tricking internal users into opening it and unleashing a virus throughout the software network.

Social networking sites, like LinkedIn, can be a great way for healthcare organizations to gain visibility into a professional community, especially for physician and IT recruiting.  Remember, however, that this same visibility is also given to attackers looking to target high-level employees or discover what security applications a company has deployed. Public exposure can easily become target enrichment for an attacker.

Smart Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) has forever changed the software and program configurations used throughout healthcare organizations across the world. Any given healthcare facility can, at any given moment, have countless smart devices connecting into their networks. Unfortunately, these unknown devices pose a major threat to healthcare organizations’ networks – and a major opportunity for hackers. Performing routine, thorough device audits is the best way to determine what’s in any given channel and ensure it has all the most current security patches installed.