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Urgent Need to Defend India's Healthcare Infrastructure from Cyber-Attacks

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Kanishk Gaur    20 December 2022

During the testing time of the pandemic, India was able to put up a spirited fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of the COWIN platform, which helped to keep an efficient track of vaccinations administered across the country. Information technology was the backbone that supported the mass vaccination drives and also helped in effectively monitoring the vaccination drive and keeping track of its progress. On the other hand, there is a scarier side to digitization in the health sector: the growing number of cyberattacks. The healthcare system in India was one of the most targeted in the world during the pandemic.

 

Ironically, despite India′s healthcare industry′s valiant efforts against the COVID infection, the industry does not meet the criteria for a critical infrastructure under the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Act (NCIIPC). As a result, patients′ personally identifiable information (PII) is inappropriately exploited by third parties for telesales, analytics, and decision-making for drug manufacturing.

 

The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, had a ransomware assault on December 19, 2022, which caused its server to go down. The attack on AIIMS brought to light the healthcare industry′s vulnerability in India, which is attempting to automate its operations with cutting-edge labs, digital reporting, online booking, and appointments.

 

Therefore, it can be said that India requires cybersecurity regulations to protect its healthcare ecosystem, ensuring security measures to protect patient data and the operation of critical and intensive care units in the event of ransomware and APT assaults. There is a clear need for regular cyber security assessments, the obligation to disclose breaches, and a council of cyber specialists who will proactively recommend best practices for the Indian healthcare industry.

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