Cybersecurity

It’s time to hand over cybersecurity to computers

Cybercriminals are getting bolder. Once content to target the computer systems of small businesses, local governments, and universities, hackers are now targeting large swathes of America’s healthcare industry. Healthcare providers and insurance companies rely on computer processes to automate claims payments, verify patient eligibility for services, and approve prescriptions. A successful attack could make it difficult for patients to access medications and necessary services. Clinics and hospitals will not be able to pay their staff.

Cybercriminals are getting bolder. Once content to target the computer systems of small businesses, local governments, and universities, hackers are now targeting large swathes of America’s healthcare industry. Healthcare providers and insurance companies rely on computer processes to automate claims payments, verify patient eligibility for services, and approve prescriptions. A successful attack could make it difficult for patients to access medications and necessary services. Clinics and hospitals will not be able to pay their staff.

That’s exactly what has happened in recent weeks. A ransomware group known as ALPHV or BlackCat has shut down Change Healthcare, a subsidiary of insurance giant UnitedHealth. Change Healthcare automates one-third of insurance payments to U.S. pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals This attack completely disrupted the U.S. healthcare system and cost healthcare providers an estimated $1 billion per day. suffered damage. The federal government was forced to make emergency payments to health care providers. According to unconfirmed reports, the cybercriminal ended the attack after he received a $22 million Bitcoin payment.

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That’s exactly what has happened in recent weeks. A ransomware group known as ALPHV or BlackCat has shut down Change Healthcare, a subsidiary of insurance giant UnitedHealth. Change Healthcare automates one-third of insurance payments to U.S. pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals This attack completely disrupted the U.S. healthcare system and cost healthcare providers an estimated $1 billion per day. suffered damage. The federal government was forced to make emergency payments to health care providers. According to unconfirmed reports, the cybercriminal ended the attack after he received a $22 million Bitcoin payment.

These attacks will not stop until our healthcare systems adopt the latest cyber defense techniques. This is a new generation of autonomous digital infrastructure that can fully protect patient data and keep critical healthcare systems running even when the system is under attack.

In the past, the federal government provided incentives to encourage modernization of the health care system. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 improves connectivity and interoperability while enabling health care providers to adopt electronic health records and strengthen patient privacy protections. It was intended to. Unfortunately, no one anticipated how adept cybercriminals would be at exploiting vulnerabilities within interconnected medical computer systems.

As the scope and frequency of these attacks increases, healthcare providers and payers will incur significant losses. Ultimately, however, society will foot the bill in the form of increased medical costs for everyone. The federal government should update regulations and provide financial incentives to the healthcare industry to deploy a new generation of autonomous, secure and reliable digital infrastructure.

Almost all cyberattacks and digital data thefts begin in the same way, with human error. In 2019, hackers accessed the personal information of more than 100 million Capital One customers. At the time, Capital One used digital infrastructure purchased from Amazon Web Services to manage customer data. Unfortunately, a bank employee misconfigured the system, creating a security vulnerability.

Such vulnerabilities can be prevented by second-generation autonomous cloud computer systems. The computer industry has already developed a second generation of autonomous cloud technology that is secure and reliable. These systems have proven to be able to defend against cyber-attacks and data theft. Autonomous systems are difficult to attack because they do not allow human configuration and instead rely on databases and operating systems that configure themselves automatically. Humans are prone to mistakes and mischief and should not be trusted to form a critical part of the system.

The same holds true for fully autonomous self-driving cars, which can be expected to dramatically reduce car accidents. If a human does not operate the vehicle, there will be no collision. Just as fully autonomous self-driving cars improve passenger safety and save lives, autonomous computer systems provide the best defense against cyberattacks on healthcare infrastructure. The latest autonomous computer technology keeps our health systems running all day, every day. They fully protect patient data, improve care, and ultimately save lives.

Autonomous systems are the best first line of defense against cyberattacks, but there’s more that modern cloud systems can do to protect themselves. The use of passwords should be eliminated. Passwords are easily and routinely stolen by cybercriminals. Passwords must be replaced with passcodes. Passcodes are computer-generated and constantly change, making them virtually impossible to steal, but they are much easier and more convenient to use than passwords. Passcodes, autonomous databases, and autonomous operating systems are all now available in second-generation cloud systems.

The health care industry, the computer industry, and the federal government can work together to strengthen the nation’s critical digital infrastructure. Governments must establish strict privacy standards to protect sensitive patient data and set standards that require health systems to remain operational even during attacks.

Autonomous databases and operating systems tip the balance of power and give defenders a technological edge during cyberattacks. The sooner healthcare systems begin using autonomous systems, the safer the healthcare system and patients will be.

Mr. Ellison is a co-founder and chief technology officer of Oracle. Mr. Verma is General Manager of Oracle Health and Oracle Life Sciences. She served as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2017 to 2021.

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