By Eneya Georgieva
Digital Health and Innovation Cluster Bulgaria, together with Mnemonica, a cybersecurity company and a member of the Cluster, organized an event “Cybersecurity in healthcare or how to build digital trust”.
An initiative to form a cyber index in the healthcare sector was presented at the event, to identify the level of knowledge in the field and the extent of preparation for the growing number of hacker breakthroughs can be taken into account.
72% of the medical institutions in Bulgaria do not have policies and guidelines for responding to cyberattacks. Poor preparation and valuable information on their servers leads to an increase in health database breaches. Half (48%) of medical institutions in the country have been victims of hackers. This became clear from a survey conducted among directors of medical institutions, heads of departments and IT specialists. The study is organized by the technology company Mnemonics and the Digital Health and Innovations Cluster Bulgaria (DHI Cluster Bulgaria).
The data was presented during the forum “Cybersecurity in healthcare or how to build digital trust”. Experts emphasize the role of information security when working with sensitive patient information. The most common reason for information leakage from healthcare servers are phishing schemes, email attacks and malware.
According to statistics, 80% of respondents did not receive regular training to increase the level of protection and competencies of their experts. Thus, those responsible for information security were not informed about the latest requirements in the sector. Forum participants agreed that this needs to change. They even pledged to resume cybersecurity training after the event.
“It takes an average of 200 days to detect a breach in a system’s digital security. In comparison, it takes only 45 minutes for a malicious code, once it has penetrated the system, to start causing damage “, shares Vihren Slavchev, CEO of Mnemonics. “Over the last year alone, more than 13 billion malicious emails have been blocked, and more than 2 million URLs are created every month in order to retrieve personal information,” Slavchev commented.
Among the challenges facing IT professionals are not only the theft and destruction of personal data but also the temporary blocking of digital services. “Technology is accelerating the process of digitalisation, but it is also increasing cybercrimes,” said Radoy Pavlov, a corporate architect and strategist at the University Hospital in Zurich and honorary member of DHI Cluster Bulgaria. “Among the priorities in my work for one of the 10 most digitally competitive hospitals in the world is how to achieve maximum protection in IoMT (Internet of Things in Medicine). The aim is not to compromise the activity of the restaurant”, adds Pavlov.
Dr. Radoslav Mangaldjiev, Head of the Department of Medical Oncology, SBALOZ – Sofia, and honorary member of DHI Cluster Bulgaria also emphasizes the need for a synchronized transition to a digital environment. “Opening a phishing email sent with allegedly accounting information blocks our hospital’s servers. We need experts who will prevent potential cyberattacks”, said Dr. Mangaldzhiev.
There is also a solution for fully digitalized healthcare facilities that do not have the capacity to train their own specialists. Modern medical centres cannot afford to make a mistake because they have long since abandoned paper. They choose sustainable policies and modern software that saves them time and effort. In their case, it is appropriate to trust external contractors. Experts will maintain their systems 24/7 and will detect potential threats at an early stage. In this way, patient information will be protected and health centres will continue to operate in a digital environment without worries.