Frequently, technology’s penetration into different sectors deepens. One of the latest industries tech is revolutionizing is the health industry. Telehealth is a sub-sector that expedites the process of consulting a doctor.
With a smartphone or computer, you would be able to get medical advice from a physician at all times of the day. Because of telehealth, a reduced number of people wait in clinics to see a doctor, while going about their daily activities.
This infusion of technology into medicine has proved to be highly beneficial since the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the number of patients seeking medical advice have surged massively in the past year, telehealth has allowed proper management of the situation. Telemedicine also encourages social distancing which is crucial to limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
Cybersecurity risks facing telehealth users
When a patient uses a smartphone to utilize telehealth services, a certain level of trust for the connection is established. This stems from the fact that individuals have gotten very familiar with their devices. However, anything that is connected to the internet runs the risk of getting hijacked. Here lies the issue of cyber threats facing the telemedicine subsector.
Hackers can take advantage of slack cybersecurity measures to attack hospitals implementing telehealth. Malicious software could be employed and software loopholes could be exploited for this measure. Once this happens, there’s an increased risk of patients dying or health issues getting worsened.
In 2020, DarkOwl, a dark web search engine, released reports showing that search queries for telemedicine data had surged. According to the research, there was lots of patient information getting traded on the dark web. Since the approved use of video chat apps for telehealth, there have also been reports of hackers getting into video chat meetings.
How telehealth users can increase cybersecurity protection
1 – Secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers
All devices that can be connected to your telehealth apps should be secured. First, you need to use a strong password for your device and your telehealth app. Your login information should never be shared with anybody.
Second, you need to install anti-malware and firewall applications. This prevents malware from getting into your device. Third, update all software on your device before installing the telehealth app. This measure blocks any existing security loopholes that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
2 – Secure your network
Even if your devices are secure, network data can still be sniffed and hijacked. For instance, you could be connected to a hijacked public Wi-Fi network when communicating with your physician. In this case, every bit of data that is exchanged between you and your doctor would be seen and stolen.
To protect yourself you need a VPN. Securing your device with a VPN gives you access to benefits like increased privacy when using the web. A VPN will protect internet information on your home network and public Wi-Fi, even if it’s hacked.
If the hacker happens to come across your info, it would be encrypted and thus, unreadable. Using a paid VPN app for this measure is always better too.
3 – Activate multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is a framework that stops hackers in their tracks if they manage to steal login credentials. In essence, a person will need another form of authentication before login can be allowed to an app or website.
If your telehealth app has an option for two-factor authentication, activate it. This way, even if your login details get compromised, the hacker would be unable to get into your account to steal data.
Technology’s introduction into the health industry is finally here. However, just like the other sectors infused with tech, cyber threats are starting to plague telehealth users.
This includes threats like malware and obsolete software intrusions. To protect your telehealth data, you can secure your devices, your network, and activate two-factor authentication.