A law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was adopted in the US in 1996. It was passed to safeguard the confidentiality of patients’ medical information and to give them a safe way to save and access their health information. As technology has advanced, it has become more crucial to protect this data.
These technological advancements enabled the transfer of patient protected health information (PHI) to electronic formats. Despite the fact that there have been many benefits, electronic PHI (ePHI) has also come under scrutiny due to security issues on a global scale. Critical patient care, such procedures, were frequently postponed after a ransomware attack encrypted essential patient data.
Here, HIPAA standards for penetration tests are relevant. According to the HIPAA Security Regulation, all entities covered by HIPAA penetration testing must implement security measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of ePHI, including any protected health information stored, transmitted, created, or received in an electronic format. One of the necessary security measures is a “administrative safeguard,” which is broken down into a number of criteria, one of which is the evaluation standard.
The protection of ePHI by covered entities’ security policies and procedures must be monitored. The assessment standard requires covered businesses to regularly monitor and evaluate in order to achieve this. One approach to evaluating is to perform a HIPAA penetration test.
A penetration test is exactly what?
An attempt is made to exploit system flaws in order to gain access to a system or network during a penetration test, a type of security assessment. It is used to determine and assess the security strengths and weaknesses of a system or network as well as to determine the overall security posture of the system or network.
The goal of a penetration test is to identify any security gaps and offer advice on how to close them or reduce any dangers that are found.
A security specialist or group of security experts usually conducts a penetration test, commonly referred to as a “pentest” or “ethical hacking.” Those with knowledge of computer forensics, systems and network architecture, software engineering, and security procedures often make up the penetration test team.
The penetration test team often starts by learning as much as possible about the system or network being probed. Information gathering may involve learning about the hardware and software components of the system, its operating system and version, any programs it is now executing, its network architecture and protocols, and any active security measures.
Many methods, such as system and network scans, staff interviews, and examinations of current records and system settings, can be used to get this information.
The penetration test team will start the actual penetration testing process after acquiring the necessary data about the system or network. This process frequently involves trying to get access to the system or network using any known vulnerabilities.
This can be done using a variety of methods, including application-level attacks, social engineering, physical security breaches, and remote access attempts.
The penetration testing team will then attempt to enter the system or network by taking advantage of any discovered flaws.
The penetration tester will attempt to obtain more access rights after gaining entry, such as administrator access. Access privileges can be obtained through taking advantage of recent flaws or already-existing access. Also, the penetration tester might try to access private information, including client or financial records.
Following the penetration test, the penetration tester will produce a comprehensive report outlining any vulnerabilities discovered as well as any suggestions for mitigation or remedy. The report should contain all testing processes performed on the system or network as well as any data acquired during testing.
The report should be consulted when making security policy decisions in order to guarantee that any vulnerabilities are fixed.
A penetration testing service is a crucial tool for assessing the security posture of any system or network, in the end. By actively attempting to exploit system vulnerabilities, the penetration test team can identify potential gaps and develop suggestions for how to fix them. A penetration test is used to identify and address potential security flaws as well as to help assure the safety of the system or network.
What exactly does a HIPAA penetration test involve?
An application, network, or system is subjected to a HIPAA penetration assessment, a type of penetration test, with the following objectives:
- Identifying weaknesses that might provide unauthorized access to, modification of, or deletion of protected health information (PHI).
- Assessing the effectiveness of a HIPAA-covered entity’s security policies and procedures in protecting ephi.
- The test includes simulating an attack on the system or network to find security holes, and like all penetration tests, it should be carried out by an experienced security professional. Actionable measures to increase the security of the system or network are developed using the results of the penetration test.
What part in the HIPAA penetration testing does BB-SEC play?
Complete penetration testing solutions, including HIPAA-specific solutions, are offered by BB-SEC. Among the scopes that BB-SEC covers are:
- Examination of internal and external networks for vulnerabilities
- Web application penetration testing
- Testing for mobile security
- Testing for iot and embedded device penetration
HIPAA penetration testing: Is it necessary?
Although a penetration test is not required under HIPAA requirements, covered firms are nonetheless required to conduct a security risk assessment. As part of the required HIPAA Security Rule risk study, covered firms are required to identify the risks and vulnerabilities in their environment and put security measures in place to address them. Healthcare organizations should have access, audit, integrity, authentication, and transmission security controls in place.
As previously indicated, the administrative safeguard evaluation standard requires covered enterprises to establish continuous monitoring and technical evaluation techniques. HIPAA penetration testing is one such process that evaluates the efficacy of security measures.