One-Fifth of Healthcare Organizations Still Run XP

A quarter of healthcare IT professionals in the US and UK aren’t confident in their organization’s ability to deal with cyber-threats, despite the vast majority (85%) having increased spending over the past year, according to Infoblox.

The security vendor polled over 300 professionals working at healthcare organizations (HCOs) on both sides of the pond, to compile its latest report, Cybersecurity in healthcare: the diagnosis.

It revealed that despite a large increase in spending overall, many HCOs are struggling to cope with the volume and sophistication of modern online threats.

It doesn’t help that a fifth still have Windows XP machines running on their network, while 18% have connected medical devices running on the legacy OS.

Over a quarter (26%) said they either can’t or don’t know if they can update such systems, which is worrying considering the explosion in endpoints of late: nearly half (47%) of HCO pros surveyed manage over 5000 networked devices.

Even more concerning, a quarter said they would pay the ransom if hit by a disruptive cyber-attack, while 85% claimed to have a ‘plan’ in place if such a situation occurred.

It’s not clear exactly what these plans are, but the NHS for one was floored by the WannaCry attacks in May.

A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report revealed that over a third (34%) of Trusts and nearly 600 GP practices were affected, with an estimated 19,000 operations and appointments cancelled.

Rob Bolton, Infoblox general manager for Western Europe, argued that HCO IT professionals need to better understand what’s running on their network, keep machines updated with the latest patches, and develop the capabilities to identify malicious behavior.

“Undoubtedly, this activity won’t all be seamless, but controlled chaos is ultimately better than the significant disruption of services or the loss of sensitive data that cyber-attacks can cause,” he told Infosecurity Magazine.

“Companies also need to ensure they’re spending their cybersecurity budget strategically — firewalls, IDS, and anti-virus alone can’t defend against the plethora of increasingly sophisticated attack vectors. In addition to technologies, organizations should not neglect end-user training and awareness. Cyber-defenses that protect against these evolving threats, such as thorough DNS security and threat intelligence, will prove crucial.”

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