Healthcare orgs increasingly reach out to law enforcement for help with growing cybertheats

The recent spate of ransomware attacks on health systems has organizations not only focusing on security within their walls, but looking to law enforcement agencies for help with the growing threats.

One of those organizations is Great Neck, New York's Northwell Health, where attacks are "getting worse all the time," John Bosco, the provider system's senior vice president and chief information officer, tells Politico New York.

This week, Northwell met with FBI officials and federal prosecutors to talk about what they can do to help.

That meeting comes on the heels of a letter sent by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to FBI's James Conway, asking that he provide information on the FBI's efforts in investigating ransomware attacks, and what providers can do to protect themselves in the event of such an attack.

In addition, the Healthcare Association of New York State, a trade group, is set to meet with leaders from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the NYPD and the New York State Police to discuss cyberattack prevention, according to Politico New York.

From Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California to Columbia, Maryland-based MedStar Health, providers from coast to coast in the U.S. are seeing a rise in attacks meant to shut down systems and deeply impact hospital operations.

That has hospitals upping the ante when it comes to defense against cyberattacks, with employee education being one of the keys to keeping hackers out. Northwell has about 61,000 employees, and many of them receive mock phishing emails--those that open them then see a video to educate them about the threats such emails can cause, according to Bosco.

Another key to information safety in the age of ransomware is backing up data and systems.

"The hospital IT staff needs to ensure that mission-critical data is stored separately from other data and that it is routinely backed up, and stored off-line," Anita D'Amico, the CEO of Northport cybersecurity firm Code Dx, tells Politico New York.

To learn more:
- here's the Politico New York article