Posted: November 1, 2017

Every industry has a set of terms that accompany it, and healthcare security is no exception. Since security is a major issue for healthcare but isn't always discussed in marketing's native language, this glossary helps define common security terms your organization's security team uses in a way that makes sense for healthcare marketing.

Common Healthcare Security Terms

Basics
Confidentiality: prevention of unauthorized disclosure of data. When the media reports a breach, they usually mean a breach of confidentiality through data that has leaked to outsiders.

Integrity: protection of data from corruption or loss. Maintaining backups are a common method of ensuring integrity.

Availability: ensuring that data is available for users as needed.

Authentication: the process of validating a user identity, such as with a username and password, token card, etc.

Authorization: the process of granting access to a resource based on predetermined permissions. For example, a marketing user might be authorized to create content whereas regular users might only be authorized to view content.

Multifactor authentication: verification of identities by checking one of three factors: something the user knows such as a password, something the user has, such as a smart card, or something the user is, such as a biometric fingerprint. Multifactor authentication checks at least two of the three types of authentication factors.

Vulnerability: a weakness that exposes a system to potential exploitation or risk. Declining to install updates from Apple or Microsoft is a common way that vulnerabilities continue to exist.

Threat Actor: a subject who is responsible for exploiting vulnerabilities or otherwise causing a security incident.

Encryption: the process of converting information into a coded message to prevent unauthorized access.

HTTPS: an encrypted version of HTTP, ensuring enhanced security of the data being sent.

Social Engineering: committing acts of trickery to make users fall into a trap and expose confidential information or take some insecure action.

Information Warfare: use or abuse of information systems and technologies for an advantage over some opponent. For example, interference in elections through social media is an example of state based information warfare.

Types of Attacks
Masquerading: using a fake identity to gain unauthorized access to systems or applications.

Phishing: using counterfeit emails to trick users into providing credentials, money, or taking some other action.

Spear Phishing: targeted phishing, for example pretending to be a specific friend of your target. Also called Whaling when used against executives or other high value targets.

Vishing: using voicemail to socially engineer people. A common voicemail is one claiming to be from the IRS. Hint: The IRS won’t leave you a voicemail asking for money.

Web Trojan: a webpage that has been compromised and that misleads users to click malicious links or download malicious software.

Malware: any software that intends harm such as viruses or ransomware.

Backdoor: an insecure access to a system that was either put in place by the original programmers or by a threat actor. A backdoor was used in the movie WarGames.

Brute Force Attack: a method of attack in which an exhaustive one-by-one procedure tries all the possibilities

Denial of Service (DOS): flooding resources so that they become unavailable. The group Anonymous uses a denial of service tool to make websites unavailable from time to time.

Dumpster Diving: digging through the garbage to obtain information. Note: don’t write your password on a sticky note and throw it in the garbage.

Terms Relating to Protection and Response
Blue Team: the defensive team in charge of protecting an organization against any incidents that occur.

Red Team: offensive testers whose job is to break into an organization’s assets in an attempt to find and secure vulnerabilities.

US CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team): the United States’ official emergency cybersecurity team. It focuses on major incidents. It also conducts public awareness campaigns and research aimed at improving computer security.

Vulnerability Scanning: using specialized software to look for vulnerabilities on corporate assets like websites, applications, and networks.

Endpoint protection: protection of individual computers such as user workstations through anti-virus and other tools.

Web Application Firewall (WAF): a firewall designed specifically to protect websites from things like denial of service or common website attacks.

Forensics: in terms of computer security, forensic deals with the proper methods to identify, preserve, and analyze evidence from an incident.

Want more insight into security concerns for your healthcare marketing team? Read our posts on Security Questions to Ask Your Technology Vendor and Complexity in Healthcare Marketing.