HITRUST, a coalition of industry stakeholders working to improve cybersecurity, has dramatically increased participation in the next round of its cyber attack simulation exercise, called CyberRX.

In April 2014, about a dozen organizations participated in the first exercise, CyberRX 1.0. The test was conducted by a third party that launched real but harmless attacks on participant information networks, such as information systems or medical devices. The exercise assessed how well organizations recognized the attack and how well they responded, such as knowing where to go for assistance or answers when suspicions were raised because of probing or other threat activity.

The test also assessed the effectiveness of HITRUST’s Cyber Threat Intelligence and Incident Coordination Center, which includes a repository of threat data and researchers who disseminate information on new threats.

Now, more than 750 healthcare organizations will participate during October in CyberRX 2.0, which will have three levels of sophistication to support organizations with various levels of cyber security capabilities.

Level 1 testing on a local basis will be “table-top” simulations that organizations can administer to assess their threat readiness and response with a focus on internal processes. Level 2 on a regional basis, with a Level 1 certification needed to advance and participate, is a more sophisticated attack to build collaboration between multiple organizations to deal with the threat simultaneously. Level 3 on a national basis, with a Level II certificate as a prerequisite, is a more comprehensive attack to evaluate internal and external threat readiness, response and crisis management, according to HITRUST. About 50 large organizations are expected to participate on this level.

In the April CyberRX 1.0 exercise, organizations knew the month but not the date or time an attack would be launched. In CyberRX 2.0, Level 1 participants can do their own test on their own time. Level 2 participants will know when the attack is being launched. Level 3 participants will not know when the attack is coming.

Accompanying CyberRX 2.0 is a new resource from HITRUST for all stakeholders regardless of whether they participate in the simulated attacks. The organization on October 1 will release the CyberRx 2.0 Exercise Playbook with Level 1 scenarios to enable organizations to start assessing their own capabilities. HITRUST also continues to offer monthly cyber threat briefings in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services.

More information on participating or getting the Exercise Playbook in October is available here.

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