The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has formally launched its Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3).
HC3 is housed in the Hubert H. Humphrey building within HHS headquarters in Washington D.C. Deputy Secretary of the HHS, Eric Hargan officially opened HC3 on October 29, 2018.
HC3’s main purpose is to enhance coordination and data sharing within the healthcare sector. HC3 will work together with the stakeholders in the healthcare industry, including professionals, organizations, and cybersecurity data sharing companies, to improve understanding present-day threats and attack trends. Data about new and existing threats will then be shared with healthcare organizations, together with details of actions that can be taken to protect healthcare systems, medical devices and patient data from attack.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the principal body that deals with cyber threats in the USA and is in charge of developing tactics to mitigate those threats. HC3 will be working closely with DHS and will provide assistance, but will be solely focused on the healthcare industry. HC3 will help to improve resilience to cyber threats, enhance coordination, and boost data sharing to ensure that healthcare providers take precautionary steps to safeguard their assets and keep patients from harm.
Healthcare organizations certainly need to take action to boost their cyber defenses. Cybercriminals are widely targeting the healthcare industry to gain access to sensitive patient information, sabotage networks, destroy medical devices , and encrypt files to extort money from healthcare organizations. Last year alone, healthcare organizations reported over 400 major data breaches.
Threats need to be rapidly identified but actionable intelligence needs to be shared with healthcare organizations to allow them to easily address risks and prevent cyberattacks. DHS notes that many of the successful cyberattacks in the last year could have been avoided if the organizations had access to timely, quality intelligence.