Health care and cyber threats

  • Teija Norri-Sederholm Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulu
  • Tiina Laitinen Kuopion yliopistollinen sairaala
  • Martti Lehto Jyväskylän yliopisto
  • Martti J Kari Jyväskylän yliopisto


Finland’s cyber security strategy states that Finland has to be capable of protecting the vital functions of society, such as health care, against cyber threats. Currently, health care heads the TOP-5 list of cyber attacks because of the value of patient data in dark markets. In this article, we describe actual cyber threats, cyber vulnerabilities, and cyber attacks covering different dimensions of the cyber world.

In this study, we use a five-layer cyber world network-model including physical, syntactic, semantic, service, and cognitive layers. The model covers widely the devices and networks from the physical layer to the human problem solving and interpretation environments in the cognitive layer. Also, the vulnerabilities of e.g. device-specific or human factor-related and realised attacks like phishing can be classified with the help of the model. Ransomwares, affecting the semantic layer, have received a lot of publicity lately.

There are many ways to take safeguards against cyber threats in different layers. The starting point is that each organisation takes care of their cyber security in collaboration with other actors in recognising threats and in taking action against them. Creating cyber security is actually about managing the system. It is vital to focus on systems as a whole instead of individual devices. The target of the collaboration is that comprehensive know-how supports the facilities of each actor against a common threat. The continuous improvement of cyber security in health care, increasing awareness, and educating staff should be an essential part of the cyber strategy of any organisation.

Keywords: cyber security [], cyber threat, health care [], critical infrastructure
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Mar 10, 2019
How to Cite
Norri-Sederholm, T., Laitinen, T., Lehto, M., & Kari, M. (2019). Health care and cyber threats. Finnish Journal of EHealth and EWelfare, 11(1-2), 86-99.