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The landscape of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and challenges in healthcare: Security standards and paradigm shift recommendations

ARES 2021: The 16th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security

August 2021, Article No.: 136, Pages 1-9

Digital technology provides unique opportunities to revolutionize the healthcare ecosystem and health research. However, this comes with serious security, safety, and privacy threats. The healthcare sector has been proven unequipped and unready to face cyberattacks while its vulnerabilities are being systematically exploited by attackers. The growing need and use of medical devices and smart equipment, the complexity of operations and the incompatible systems are leaving healthcare organizations exposed to various malware, including ransomware, which result in compromised healthcare access, quality, safety and care. To fully benefit from the advantages of technology, cybersecurity issues need to be resolved. Cybersecurity measures are being suggested via a number of healthcare standards which are often contradicting and confusing, making these measures ineffective and difficult to implement. To place a solid foundation for the healthcare sector, in improving the understanding of complex cybersecurity issues, this paper explores the existing vulnerabilities in the health care critical information infrastructures which are used in cyberattacks and discusses the reasons why this sector is under attack. Furthermore, the existing security standards in healthcare are presented alongside with their implementation challenges. The paper also discusses the use of living labs as a novel way to discover how to practically implement cybersecurity measures and also provides a set of recommendations as future steps. Finally, to our knowledge this is the first paper that analyses security in the context of living labs and provides suggestions relevant to this context.
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