In recent months, the alarming cybersecurity breach at Change Healthcare, the health care payment-processing company under the health care giant UnitedHealth Group, has thrown a spotlight on a chilling reality: cyberthreats can lurk undetected within our networks, ready to unleash chaos at a moment’s notice. The breach, executed by the notorious ALPHV/BlackCat hacker group, involved the group lying dormant within the company’s environment for nine days before activating a crippling ransomware attack.

This incident, which severely impacted the US health care system, a network with a large budget for cybersecurity, underscores an urgent message for all business leaders: a robust cybersecurity system and recovery plan are not optional but a fundamental necessity for every business out there.

The attack began with hackers using leaked credentials to access a key application that was shockingly left without the safeguard of multifactor authentication.

Once inside, the hackers stole data locked it down, and then demanded a hefty ransom.

This action stalled nationwide health care payment-processing systems, for thousands of pharmacies and hospitals causing them to grind to a halt!

Then things got even worse!

The personal health information and personal information of potentially millions of Americans was also stolen. The hackers set up an exit scam, demanding a second ransom to not release this information.

This breach required a temporary shutdown, disconnecting entire systems from the Internet, a massive overhaul of the IT infrastructure and significant financial losses estimated to potentially reach $1.6 billion by year’s end. Replacing laptops, rotating credentials and rebuilding the data center network were only a few of the actions the UnitedHealth Group had to take. More than financial, the cost was deeply human – impacting health care services and risking personal data.

While devastating, it’s a powerful reminder that threats can dwell in silence within our networks, waiting for an opportune moment to strike.

It is not enough to react; proactive measures are essential.

Ensuring systems are secured, implementing multifactor authentication, regularly updating and patching software and having a recovery plan in place in the event of an attack are steps that can no longer be overlooked and are basic requirements for doing business in today’s world.

Also, the idea that “We’re too small to be a target” is false. Just because you’r not big enough to make national news, doesn’t mean you're too small to be attacked!

Cybersecurity isn’t just an IT issue; it’s a cornerstone of modern business strategy. It requires investment, training and a culture of security awareness throughout the organization.

The fallout from a breach reaches far beyond the immediately affected systems. It can erode customer trust, disrupt services and lead to severe financial and reputational damage, and your business, will be the one blamed.

As we consider the lessons from the Change Healthcare incident, it’s your duty to make cybersecurity a top priority. Investing in comprehensive cybersecurity measures isn’t just a precaution – it’s a fundamental responsibility to our customers, our stakeholders and our future.

Remember, in the realm of cyberthreats, what you can’t see can hurt you – and preparation is your most powerful defense.

Is YOUR organization secure? If you’re not sure, or just want a second opinion, our cybersecurity experts will provide you with a FREE Security Risk Assessment that will detail if and where you’re vulnerable and what to do about it. Schedule yours by clicking here or calling us at (425) 441-9500.