Cyberterrorism: Is the U.S. healthcare system safe?

David Harries, Peter M. Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Internet has brought with it many benefits; key among them has been its ability to allow the expansion of communication and transfer of all kinds of information throughout the U.S. healthcare system. As a consequence, healthcare has become increasingly dependent on the activities carried out in that environment. It is this very dependence that increases the likelihood of individuals or organizations conducting activities through the Internet that will cause physical and/or psychological harm. These activities have become known by the term "cyberterrorism." In the healthcare landscape this can appear in a variety of forms, such as bringing down a hospital computer system or publicly revealing private medical records. Whatever shape it takes, the general effects are the same: patient care is compromised, and trust in the health system is diminished. Fortunately no significant cyber attack has been successfully launched against a U.S. healthcare organization to date. However, there is evidence to suggest that cyber threats are increasing and that much of the U.S. healthcare system is ill equipped to deal with them. Securing cyberspace is not an easy proposition as the threats are constantly changing, and recognizing that cyberterrorism should be part of a broader information technology risk management strategy, there are several"best practices" that can be adopted by healthcare organizations to protect themselves against cyber attacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Cyber security
  • Cyber threats
  • Cyberterrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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