HHS Creates Healthcare Cybersecurity Center

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the opening of the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3). The center, a healthcare cybersecurity threat analysis and incident response partner to the private sector, will protect against cyber attacks. HC3's role is to work with the healthcare and public health (HPH) sector, including practitioners, organizations, and cybersecurity information sharing organizations to understand the threats, learn hackers' patterns and trends, and provide information and approaches on how the HPH can better defend itself.

The healthcare sector reported over 400 major breaches from 2017 to 2018 and gave hackers the potential to access sensitive medical data, damage medical equipment, secure intellectual property for financial gain, or even conduct terrorist attacks, according to HHS. The HC3 will help healthcare organizations protect their assets and patients.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be the lead organization to combat threats and develop preventive strategies across the economy, with HHS focusing on cybersecurity support and information sharing within the healthcare and public health (HPH) sector. HC3 replaces the Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

"We believe that when a risk is shared across sectors, the only way to manage that risk successfully is to manage it collectively," said Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications in DHS. "We know that the majority of the cybersecurity attacks that occurred over the past year could have been prevented with quality and timely information—and the heightened importance of sharing information cannot be stressed enough. The HC3 is a vital capability for the early detection and coordination of information between the private sector and the federal government, and with cyber professionals across the federal government."