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3 Major security risks for Veterinary Hospitals in 2022

By December 20, 2021June 9th, 2022No Comments

In 2021, cybercriminals went after critical infrastructures such as water treatment, gas pipelines, and food and infrastructure plans, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars while causing billions of dollars in losses.

Veterinary practices were also not left, becoming an attractive target for ransomware groups and ransomware as a service vendors. To counter the attacks, 2021 has also seen many veterinary practices investing in new technologies such as cloud services, practice management systems and integrating their networks and computer systems with the internet of things technologies, which have so far been safe from cybercriminal attacks.

However, that is about to change, and in 2022, cybercriminals are expected to start going after technologies that are now deemed safer for veterinary practices. Here is a look at emerging attack vectors that cybercriminals will be exploiting in 2022 and how veterinary practices can be prepared for such attacks.

Internet of things (IoT) devices

Today, there are also billions of interconnected devices, including smartphones, medical sensors, door locks, smart fire alarms, smart doors, smartwatches, refrigerators, fitness trackers, appliances, laptops, e.t.c. These devices can be found everywhere, and chances are, your veterinary practice has a number of these IoT devices, including smart doors and alarm systems.

In 2021, attacks specifically targeted at IoT devices were not very common, and cybercriminals relied heavily on tried and tested strategies such as phishing and human-operated ransomware attacks. However, that is about to change in 2022, and cybercriminals are expected to channel some of their ill-gotten resources to researching IoT devices and how they can compromise them.

In 2022, veterinary practices can expect to see attacks on IoT devices, from security cameras to your smartwatches. Unfortunately, these types of attacks will be very hard to detect, and in some cases, will include identity theft, which can be used to cripple or compromise the whole IT infrastructure in a veterinary practice.

In today’s world, where veterinary practices cannot run away from internet-based services, a compromise on one of their interconnected devices will give access to entire networks, and cybersecurity experts such as Kevin Bocek, VP of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, believes attacks on IoT devices will become the new face of ransomware in the IoT era.

There is also fear that most IoT devices are not built with cybersecurity in mind; hence they will increase the number of access points into “secure” digital systems that are mostly used by veterinary practices.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) application in the cybersecurity domain has helped prevent attacks, phishing attempts and spamming detection, in most cases, have been very effective in preventing large-scale cyberattacks.

Unfortunately, the technology has not flown under the radar, and cybercriminals have taken notice of the untapped potential of AI. In 2022, veterinary practice can expect cybercriminals to start using AI technology to identify patterns of behavior in their systems that signify something out of the ordinary may be taking place and use this information to get into their systems or launch an attack aimed at their systems.

The use of AI by cybercriminals is scary due to its predictive powers that can pinpoint them to where your systems are more vulnerable.

It is also a wake-up call for veterinary practices to invest in cybersecurity systems and skills that can detect fast and flag any unauthorized access to their systems, thereby preventing cyberattacks. They should also consider employing AI systems in the IT infrastructure to counter attacks aimed at them and also detect vulnerabilities that might give cybercriminals access to their systems.

Cloud environments

 The past few years have seen many veterinary practices migrating to cloud services and incorporating these services as part of their IT infrastructure. So far, the migration has worked, and cloud services and data centers hosted on cloud servers have proved to be very secure.

However, in 2022, this may all change, as cybercriminals look for new opportunities where they can make money. This will include dedicating a chunk of the hundreds of millions of dollars they made in 2021 to try and compromise cloud services.

 In today’s world, data is in the cloud, and this includes practice management systems that most veterinary practices use for their day-to-day operations, and you can expect cybercriminals to start going after the clouds as a way to launch their attack and make money off their victims.

Attacks on cloud services will also mark an important milestone for cybercriminals, who have relied on Microsoft-windows’ vulnerabilities to launch attacks. Systems built on other operating systems, including Ubuntu which runs on most cloud services.

 Going into 2022, veterinary practices need to realize that simply relying on cloud vendors to take care of their security will not be enough. Instead, they will need to take responsibility for some of the cloud computing decisions they make, including choosing the vendors, the type of practice management system they use and how to configure security features in their platforms.

Seeking professional help will also be needed going into 2022 because setting up a cloud computing service requires technical skills that practice owners may not have. This includes configuring security tools and setting up systems to detect any cyber attack attempt.

Need help securing your practice for 2022?

Schedule a FREE call to learn more about how a cyber security audit is like running a comprehensive blood exam on the technology in your hospital. It’s hard to treat a senior patient if you can’t get some insights under the hood. Lets get insights into your technology risks and help you fix them!

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