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When we think of security for healthcare organisations, we often think protecting hospitals from individuals running into A&E with a weapon and threatening those in the buildings.

Whilst that is scary and still goes on, there are larger security attacks that healthcare organisations could be facing. Terror attacks are an act of violence and intimidation against civilians. Many focus on soft targets, like healthcare for their attacks.

Just one week ago, an act of terror was pursued outside a Maternity Hospital in Liverpool. The suspected suicide bomber detonated the homemade device in the back of the taxi, pushing the national terror threat level to severe for the first time in months. This sort of attack could have been worse, with only one deceased and the taxi driver left with severe injuries in hospital. Worryingly the use of vehicles for mass injuries are increasing when it comes to terrorism, but how are other forms of attack becoming more and more sophisticated?

  • Well one major security challenge facing healthcare is the use of cyber-crime on healthcare organisations to target documents and understand work patterns. In the UK last year, a study conducted found that 81% of healthcare organisations had suffered from a ransomware attack with 38% of these organisations having paid the ransom demands to get their files and data back. If hackers get into healthcare systems they can access a lot of confidential information, which could include access codes to doors and security gates, patient information and even staff rotas to understand working patterns.

  • What’s more, with the migration to digital working, spurred on by COVID-19 and working from home, cyber-attacks have continued to increase. Criminals have been using the pandemic as an opportunity to exploit digitalisation, stealing medical research and vaccine information, blackmailing, and coercing organisations. According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), one in five incidents were aimed at businesses with links to health. And whilst conducting their annual review, they stated from August 2020 through to September 2021, a record of 777 incidents from healthcare organisations were documented. With the massive increase of cyber threats on healthcare, the NCSC issued an advisory statement for healthcare staff to change passwords and to activate two-factor authentication to keep hackers from being able to access their systems. A quote from Paul Chichester, NCSC Director of Operations: “Protecting the healthcare sector is the NCSC’s first and foremost priority at this time, and we’re working closely with the NHS to keep their systems safe. By prioritising any requests for support from health organisations and remaining in close contact with industries involved in the coronavirus response, we can inform them of any malicious activity and take the necessary steps to help them defend against it.”

BBC News stated, last year the University of Oxford’s Covid Vaccine researchers found they had an attempt for a cyber-attack on their systems involving a ransomware hack. The NCSC stepped in to protect the AstraZeneca vaccine, because if they hadn’t it potentially could have caused significant disruptions to the UK’s pandemic response.

So, with cyber-threats having the ability to create physical terror attacks, what can be done to protect healthcare organisations from crime? Historically, physical security within the healthcare structure has been kept within the facilities departments and cyber security within IT. However, with cyber and terror attacks being used together, to counteract these threats both cyber and physical security need to collaborate. In order to proactively prevent threats, digital security tools need to extend into the physical security realm.

CLD Fencing Systems MODSEC solution could be a great addition to the premises of healthcare organisations. With many terrorists attempting vehicular attacks for greater impact, the modular concrete design acts as a true deterrent against vehicle threats. MODSEC can inhibit unauthorised access and can help prevent cars from ploughing through. Whilst acting as a barrier from vehicular attacks, MODSEC also allows for security devices to be mounted with an in-built channel available for wires to be installed under the modular system. CCTV, PIDS and cloud based keyless entry systems can then help detect threats and attacks before they are executed. With physical and cyber security methods working together, healthcare organisations could counteract the high risks they could potentially face in the future.


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