90% of US healthcare organizations experienced email-based attacks in the past year, and 25% of these organizations said the attacks were extremely or very disruptive, according to a new report from Mimecast and HIMSS Media. The report found that, on average, healthcare organizations are taking steps to improve their security, but they continue to fall victim to phishing attacks.
Matthew Gardiner, director of enterprise security marketing at Mimecast, said emails are the most effective and practical way to gain access to any given organization.
“The stat is remarkably consistent with other industries and other surveys,” Gardiner said. “Email attacks are so prevalent because email is one of the most ubiquitous applications in the world. Pretty much any organization that an attacker is interested in has people using email. And, it’s easy for an attacker to reach into an organization via email. All an attacker needs to know is someone’s email address.”
Gardiner added that emails allow attackers to send malware-laden attachments and malicious links directly into your organization, and all they have to do is trick the end-user.
“All the reasons email is useful for legitimate purposes, make it useful for malicious purposes,” Gardiner said. “Ultimately, email attacks are prevalent because they work.”
The report also found that 77% of healthcare professionals believe security awareness training is necessary to defend against these attacks, but 40% said their organization provided security training less than quarterly.
“People frequently fixate just on the technologies and assume they are protected because they are using an antivirus system, a backup system, an email security system, and other tools,” Gardiner said. “All of this is good. However, information technology professionals also need to think about other elements of a program.”
Employee education should be an integral part of every organization’s security posture. New-school security awareness training can enable your employees to thwart phishing attacks.