A hospital in the United States was, a few years ago, returned to the 20th century by having to adopt handwriting and faxing, after the cyberattack on its database. This story of the hacked hospital is an example of the problems and risks involved in using the Internet in Medicine.
Some media such as The Guardian or Reuters reported the problem that was found in the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, a hospital in Los Angeles, after suffering a cyberattack that collapsed its entire computer system.
One of the main risks of the Internet in Medicine is ransonware
The attack has a pattern, which is sadly common, which is called ransomware. It is a virus that takes control of a user’s files, encrypts them and makes them inaccessible to their owner, who is blackmailed into paying a ransom to regain access to the data. The hospital administrators, in this case, found themselves with the demand of having to pay 9,000 Bitcoins to be able to have access to their own database again.
Thus, the hospital found that it had to maintain its activity but without computers, since the hospital management prohibited the computers from being turned on as a measure to reduce the spread of the virus and entire departments such as Oncology had to close because they could not use their equipment.
The healthcare sector is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks
Therefore, it can be said that the Prsbyterian case is a perfect example of the problems that can come with the dark side of the Internet in Medicine. Vulnerability to malicious attacks and the need to protect patient data. In matters related to technology in Medicine we are, on average, eight years behind the general industry.
With Internet security there is the same problem. The healthcare sector is especially vulnerable to cyberattacks. On the one hand, it stores a large amount of personal data of all kinds, many of them especially sensitive and cannot be lost for any reason. On the other hand, it does not seem that anyone has stopped to think too much about the fact that they need to be stored very carefully, since there is nothing similar to a regulation or minimum security requirements. In addition, investments are not usually made here, but rather go more easily to general hospital expenses such as the purchase of new equipment.