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Hospital Security in Question

May 2024 by Patrick Houyoux LL.M. ULB, Brussels, Trinity College, Cambridge, UK. President – Director PT SYDECO

In a recent article titled "Cyberattacks: Public and Private Hospitals, Is the Worst Yet to Come?", Jean-Michel Tavernier1 provides a detailed analysis of why the medical sector is a prime target for hackers. He highlights the vulnerabilities that allow hackers to access sensitive data such as medical records, insurance information, and payment details. The compromise of this data can have severe consequences for individuals’ privacy, financial security, and even personal safety, not to mention the financial damage to institutions and the risks to the quality of care provided to patients.

System Vulnerabilities

Tavernier points to the "excessive interdependence of the entire healthcare chain." Hospitals collaborate with a multitude of interconnected providers and partners, creating numerous opportunities for attackers. He suggests managing the attack surface (ASM), which means controlling and securing all entry points where unauthorized entities could try to gain access. He also recommends having full visibility of every device connected to the hospital’s network to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities.

The Hospital as a Supply Chain

The terms used by Tavernier to describe the issues faced by hospitals evoke an integrated system that could be described as a "Supply Chain." This chain includes the various participants in an economic activity, from the producer to the consumer. Similarly, hospitals use various interconnected IT systems such as electronic medical records (EMR), laboratory management systems, prescribing systems, and medical image management systems (PACS), and collaborate with many partners and suppliers, which facilitates the circulation of sensitive data between the different players.

A Multidimensional Approach to Security

To protect hospitals from cyber threats, it is essential to adopt a multidimensional approach that includes technical, organizational, and awareness measures:

 Risk Assessment and Management: Regularly identify and assess risks.

 Security Audits: Conduct regular audits to detect vulnerabilities.

 Access Controls: Implement role-based access controls and multi-factor authentication.

 Network Security: Thanks to network segmentation and a specific API by department.

 Data Protection: with advanced solutions such as encryption and regular backups.

 Training and Awareness: Train staff in IT security.

 Incident Monitoring and Response: Implement systems for monitoring and rapid incident response.

 Regulatory Compliance: Ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

Segmentation and Specific APIs

Network segmentation is crucial to limit the spread of attacks. Each hospital department should have its own API (Application Programming Interface) protected by a next-generation firewall such as ARCHANGEL© 2.0 from PT SYDECO, capable of detecting and preventing intrusions and blocking suspicious activities. This segmentation isolates and limits access to the data and functions specific to each department, reducing the attack surface and facilitating vulnerability management. For example, the emergency department might have an API to manage admissions and emergency patient records, while the radiology department might have an API to access medical images.

But the important thing to remember is that every API must be designed and implemented with robust security practices to protect against attacks like SQL injections, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and other potential threats. Additionally, centralized security management, with consistent security policies and controls across all APIs, is also essential to ensure overall system protection.

Advanced Technical Solutions

PT SYDECO’s Integrated Protection System, including ARCHANGEL© 2.0, Firewall of Next Generation, which defends the network in depth, protects against SQL injections, DDoS attacks and detects and blocks any suspicious movement in the internal network and a VPN Server, offers maximum protection. It secures data traffic both inside and outside the network and allows secure access to files using SydeCloud©, a secure file sharing and online backup solution.


Cyberattacks on hospitals are not inevitable. By adopting robust security measures and using integrated solutions like those offered by PT SYDECO, hospitals can effectively protect themselves, ensuring the security of data and care for the well-being of their patients.


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