4 Types of Malware that May Cause a Data Breach
Data security and malware continue to be a heated conversation topic – a notable concern for businesses in all industries, especially healthcare providers. If your organization is breached by malware, it could compromise sensitive patient data and put you in violation of regulations as outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Never assume your security is strong enough to avoid new digital threats. The truth is that no devices are immune to these infections. You could have a weak point on a laptop computer, cell phone, tablet, and any other device.
Not only does your organization need to implement sound security practices to avoid malware and other threats, but you also need to train your staff to practice safe digital workflows. Everyone from the newest administrative employee to high-level executives either strengthens or weakens the security of your organization.
Shifting to Digital Records
The primary reason why digital security is so important is that most healthcare providers are shifting to digital records. This change has resulted in malicious sources and hackers targeting data servers and repositories. Hackers are looking for ways to steal personal information, such as Social Security numbers, patient identities, payment details, contact information, and more.
There are many benefits to managing electronic health records since they are online and internet accessible. But these benefits come with potential risks if you don’t have the right security system and practices in place.
The cost of a malware attack costs much more than security services to clean up the mess. You also experience lost revenue, angry patients, potential non-compliance fines, and even liability issues. So, it’s essential to ensure that you are proactive about using the right software solutions to avoid these potential problems.
Types of Malware
Here is an overview of the most common types of malware that may result in a data breach. You can work with an experienced security team and software providers to minimize exposure to these:
- Viruses: These digital codes work to damage the computer through a process that corrupts data on the hard drive. Some viruses reformat the hard disk or shut the system down completely. Additionally, viruses can steal information and money. Viruses often spread through internet downloads and email attachments.
- Worms: As one of the most common types of malware, worms are a real threat to every organization. Worms and trojans seem like harmless, standard files – and then they take advantage of vulnerabilities in operating systems, with the ability to replicate independently and move to other computers. They can delete files on the system, encrypt data, and steal information.
- Spyware: You probably won’t know when installed spyware is on your computer. This technology tracks your internet activity and browsing habits with spying features to steal account information and gather keystrokes. The purpose of spyware is to capture sensitive information such as financial data and login credentials.
- Ransomware: The term ransomware refers to a specific type of malware that holds your digital information captive with a demand for a ransom. If you want the restored information, you must send a payment. Often, ransomware restricts access to the computer by locking it down or encrypting files. Messages pop up on the screen to force a person to pay so they can regain access.
While the risk of malware and viruses is out there, your healthcare practice doesn’t have to be vulnerable to these threats. Knowing about potential attacks is the first step to build a safety and security system protocol for your organization.