Healthcare Cybersecurity Lags Behind Other Industries

Out of four critical corporate industries in the United States, healthcare and pharmaceuticals is the lowest ranking when it comes to cybersecurity, according to an analysis by BitSight Technologies, a security rankings provider.

The report compares the security performances of finances, utilities, retail and healthcare and pharmaceuticals — four "critical" industries in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index — from April 2013 to May 2014. Healthcare was ranked last, preceded by retail and then utilities. Finance came out on top.

At approximately 5.3 days, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry experienced the longest average event duration, meaning the number of days taken to fix security issues. Retail and utilities took approximately 4.2 days, and finance took approximately 3.75 days.

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry also experienced the largest increase in the number of security incidents over the observation time.

"In our recent assessment of medical devices used in clinics and hospitals around the country, weak encryption, lack of key management, poor authentication and authorization protocols and insecure communications were all common findings," said Chandu Ketkar, technical manger of Cigital, in a statement regarding the report. "These gaps in security can lead to a compromise in data confidentiality and integrity. When sensitive data is compromised, it can not only create risks for patients, but also expose healthcare providers and device manufacturers to regulatory and business risks."

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