Healthcare suffers from widespread web application attacks

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Targeting network services with network attacks is one thing. To make matters worse, for example, DDoS attacks against schools or universities to destroy education. However, it is hard to think of anything lower and more condemned than an attack on a healthcare provider. While the other two targets may cause destruction, attacks on healthcare providers may cause loss of life.Image Source: pixabay

Unfortunately, bad actors online are rarely bound by principles such as ethics-this may help explain why web application attacks have proliferated during the coronavirus pandemic.

In particular, as the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines began to be promoted and used globally, these network application attacks surged in December 2020.Organizations that do not have the necessary security tools to prevent similar activities SQL injection Attacks and others face (and will continue to face) potentially devastating consequences.

Web applications are vulnerable

A web application is a computer program that runs as part of a website. They refer to features such as login pages, support and product request forms, Webmail and other applications located within web pages to provide other features on the site. They are commonly used to capture, process, store and send customer data. Web applications can be quickly deployed at very little cost, and it is very important that it can run on any operating system and browser, and usually does not require users to install any other software.

Unfortunately, although they are as useful as web applications, they are also vulnerable in certain situations. Last year, four types of web application attacks appeared in the medical industry. These include cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL injection, protocol manipulation attacks, and remote code execution/including remote files. All of these can be extremely harmful to users, possibly leading to unauthorized data access or forcing users to run malicious code.

The attack is on the rise

XSS attacks target users of web applications. They circumvent the “same source policy (SOP)”, which is an important part of web application security, and is designed to prevent web browsers running browser scripts from accessing data from other websites. XSS attacks work by inserting malicious code into the target website, and then as long as the page is used, the website will run. For example, it may allow hackers to impersonate their victims in order to gain access to Web sessions. Where users have privileged access, this may enable them to compromise the website.

At the same time, SQL injection refers to a network vulnerability, attackers can use the vulnerability to access data they shouldn’t see, which may include the user’s sensitive data. It does this by interfering with the way the application queries its database. Attackers can use it to modify or delete data, thereby fundamentally changing the content or behavior of the Web application. In the worst case, SQL injection attacks may allow attackers to enter the system back door for a long time, allowing them to steal everything from passwords to credit card details to confidential data for a long period of time.

Protocol manipulation attacks use a specific communication protocol as the medium to execute the attack. This type of attack allows hackers to impersonate others to control the outcome of the conversation, determine sensitive information and carry out other attacks.

Finally, remote code execution (RCE) attacks allow an attacker to take over a computer or server by running malicious code remotely. In addition to installing programs and even allowing the creation of new accounts with administrator rights, they can also view, change or delete data. This type of malware can be distributed in many ways, including manipulating web applications to host files designed to exploit specific vulnerabilities. When users access a web application, they expose themselves to vulnerabilities.

For medical institutions

There are many reasons why an attacker may target a healthcare organization. First, confidential patient information can be a huge sum of money for attackers because they can easily sell the information at high prices. Compared with some other sectors, healthcare organizations may also have outdated security technologies.

Small budgets and concerns about learning new systems may mean that certain medical institutions are particularly vulnerable to attacks and may attract attackers. The consequences of such attacks can also be catastrophic-including the fines that organizations may face for exposing private medical information in a data breach, as well as potentially fatal effects that the attacker changes, deletes or cannot determine. Patient data.

Defend against attacks

Therefore, it is vital to properly protect medical web applications. Fortunately, these tools can be used to help accomplish this important task. Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a valuable method to prevent online threats. It uses a series of constantly updated signatures to solve and defend against specific attack vectors and security vulnerabilities. At the same time, runtime application self-protection (RASP) protects the application by checking the request payload to determine whether the request is potentially malicious. This allows the application to defend against attacks.

Unfortunately, bad actors and cybercriminals will continue to use chaotic, challenging situations (such as a global pandemic) to do their best to disrupt. This includes attacks on the healthcare sector. Fortunately, by following the above recommendations, organizations can be aware of the risks and, most importantly, can take some measures proactively.

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