This past few days, Cornwall made international news again. The cyber attack on Cornwall Community Hospital that happened earlier this week is speculated to be part of an all week-long, all-out war on Justin Trudeau for meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Tuesday. It serves as yet another reminder of the pressing need for stronger backup plans in case of cyber attacks, especially in healthcare. The attack, which disrupted non-urgent surgeries and appointments, highlights the devastating impact that cyber attacks can have on critical medical services and patient care.
The Cornwall Community Hospital is not alone in experiencing a cyber attack. In recent years, there has been a surge of such attacks on healthcare facilities worldwide, with hackers targeting vulnerable IT systems to steal patient data, disrupt medical services, and demand ransoms.
So as we move forward towards a more and more all-digitalized world, should we be worried? I think so.
The consequences of a cyber attack on a healthcare facility can be severe. The loss of patient data can lead to identity theft and fraud, while the disruption of medical services can result in delayed diagnoses and treatments, putting patient lives at risk. A cyber attack can also damage the reputation of healthcare facilities, eroding trust in an already distrusted healthcare system, and potentially leading to a decrease in the quality of patient care.
To mitigate the impact of cyber attacks, we must develop and implement robust backup plans. These plans must account for the unique challenges of a cyber attack, including the potential loss or theft of patient data, the disruption of medical services, and the need to restore IT systems quickly.
A key component to achieve this is regular data backups, which ensure that patient data is not lost in the event of a cyber attack and perhaps even, keeping a copy of all information backed up every few hours on a local server to quickly revert to during a potential attack. In addition, healthcare providers must invest in cybersecurity measures to protect against cyber attacks, including secure IT systems, employee training, and regular monitoring and updating of security protocols.
It is also important to regularly test and update backup plans to ensure their effectiveness in case of a cyber attack. We should work with cybersecurity experts to identify potential vulnerabilities in their IT systems and develop effective strategies to mitigate these risks.
Yesterday’s cyber attack on Cornwall Community Hospital serves as a wake-up call.