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    Why ophthalmologists are easy prey for cybercriminals

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Sidd Chopra, founder of Analytrix, LLC. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.

    A perfect storm is brewing that may make ophthalmologists and office staff, with networked equipment, easy targets for cyber criminals.  As I detailed in a recent article on the “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack, in a matter of days, cyber criminals can infect computers around the world. Sure, you can pay the ransom, but HIPAA fines and consultant fees, recovering from the damage to your reputation, loss of patients, and all the time and energy lost could bankrupt your practice.

    Unfortunately, far too many health care professionals seem to be ready to battle with today’s cyber criminals.

    Instead of giving up, let’s take a critical look at the threats and potential solutions.


    How can cyber criminals make money off medical centers?

    Beyond ransoming centers to unlock databases, cyber criminals can use patient information to steal identities; order new credit cards, open bank accounts, take out loans, and file false claims on your insurance. According to Reuters, selling patient records can be 10 to 20 times more valuable than credit card information.


    The reason why is because credit card numbers can be changed overnight while addresses, employers, insurance numbers, and diagnoses can’t.

    If that isn’t scary enough, cybercriminals could ransom patients on medical devices such as pacemakers.

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney had the wireless feature turned off in his pacemaker.

    Why are ophthalmologists easy prey?

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