Skip to main content
Cyber News - All

Why Veterinary Practices Get targeted by Hackers

By February 7, 2023February 16th, 2024No Comments

Statistics show that nearly half of all cyberattacks are targeted at small and medium-sized organizations and businesses. This includes veterinary practices of similar size, which, for the last few years, have come under heavy attacks from cybercriminals looking to expand their niche of attacks and optimize the profitability of their criminal enterprises.

Surprisingly, most small and medium-sized veterinary practices are unaware or ignorant on why they have become attractive targets of these cyber criminals. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why these veterinary practices are getting targeted and offer solutions to how some of the problems we will focus on can be addressed.

Factors why Small and Medium-Sized Veterinary Practices are Targets

Over the past few years, small and medium-sized veterinary practices have increasingly become targets of cybercriminals. Some of the reasons for this recent phenomenon include:

1. High Value-to-Effort Ratio

One of the reasons why small- to medium-sized veterinary practices have become huge targets for cybercriminals is due to the assumed low efforts from hackers when compromising their systems. Therefore, despite only offering a few thousand to a couple of tens of thousands, most cybercriminals are confident that an attempt on these institutions will likely result in a successful compromise.

Therefore, the low bar of security compromise, which requires minimal effort, results in most cybercriminals preferring small and medium-sized veterinary practices. The low bar on cybersecurity measures in these organizations also makes it very easy for unskilled cybercriminals to compromise these practices.

2. Low Chance of Getting Caught

Most cyber criminals know that compromising critical infrastructure and big organizations can have significant consequences after the fact. This is partly because these organizations are well-equipped and financially capable of tracking the origins of these cybersecurity threats and also targeting them. For instance, in 2021, the colonial pipeline hack saw the US government assist the company in getting their ransom money back and hold those behind the attack responsible for their deeds.

However, for small and medium-sized organizations or businesses, including veterinary practices, the fear of getting caught after compromising them is minimal. In most instances, when such an attack is successful, most end up paying the ransomware in fear of ramifications arising from exposure from the hack. The attacks also do not result in further investigations; in most cases, only a few steps are taken to address the problems that resulted in the attack. For this reason, cybercriminals are more likely to attack these practices.

3. Reduced Awareness and Protection

The high likelihood that most small and medium-sized veterinary practices do not have resources dedicated to their cybersecurity is also a motivating factor in cybercriminals focusing on them. In most cases, these veterinary practices do not have an IT team that can handle rising security risks. Therefore, duties on cybersecurity are delegated to other non-IT staff, who share the burden of keeping these practices safe.

Unfortunately, when cybercriminals strike, they are more likely to be successful, which contributes an ideal environment for them. Their lack of core security solutions, such as security information and event management (SIEM) frameworks, means that any attempt by hackers results in a compromise. Therefore, armed with this information, cybercriminals are more likely to target these practices.

Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized to Avoid Becoming Targets

Small and medium-sized veterinary practices are becoming attractive targets for cybercriminals due to the high value-to-effort ratio, low chance of getting caught, and reduced awareness and protection. To combat these issues, small and medium-sized veterinary practices can implement the following solutions:

1. Increase Cybersecurity Awareness: One of the first steps to reducing the risk of cyberattacks is to increase awareness of the importance of cybersecurity. This involves educating all staff, including non-IT staff, on the common types of cyber threats and how to protect against them.

2. Dedicate Resources to Cybersecurity: Small and medium-sized veterinary practices should consider dedicating a team or a person to manage their cybersecurity. This person should be responsible for identifying and mitigating potential cybersecurity risks and regularly updating the practice’s cybersecurity measures.

3. Implement Core Security Solutions: Small and medium-sized veterinary practices should implement core security solutions, such as firewalls, anti-malware software, and security information and event management (SIEM) frameworks. These tools will help protect the practice from cyber threats and quickly identify and respond to any security incidents.

4. Regularly Review and Update Cybersecurity Measures: Small and medium-sized veterinary practices should regularly review and update their cybersecurity measures to ensure that they are adequately protected against emerging cyber threats. This may involve seeking the services of a cybersecurity professional to help assess the practice’s cybersecurity posture and identify areas for improvement.

5. Backup Data Regularly: Small and medium-sized veterinary practices should regularly backup their data to ensure that they can quickly recover in the event of a successful cyberattack. This can be done through the use of cloud backup services or other backup solutions.

Conclusion:

As seen from the above analysis, small and medium-sized veterinary practices are becoming targets for cybercriminals due to the high value-to-effort ratio, low chance of getting caught, and reduced awareness and protection.

To combat these issues, small and medium-sized veterinary practices can implement solutions such as increasing cybersecurity awareness, dedicating resources to cybersecurity, implementing core security solutions, regularly reviewing and updating cybersecurity measures, and regularly backing up data.

Submit questions for our upcoming webinar aiming to demystify the complex world of veterinary technology!

Learn More