HIPAA Penetration Testing

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HIPAA Penetration Testing

Vulnerability scanning isn’t enough. Penetration testing manually attempts to exploit vulnerabilities and gain network access to ensure healthcare data security.


Healthcare organizations are tasked not only with improving quality of life, but also securing a great quantity of protected information.

Hackers are drawn to the wealth of personally identifying information in healthcare records (Social Security numbers, insurance information, relationship data, and payment processing details are just the start!). As a result, healthcare entities need to have their networks and systems locked down to facilitate HIPAA compliance and protect electronic protected health information (ePHI).

This means maintaining a secure network, protecting cardholder data, managing vulnerabilities, implementing strong access control measures, and regularly monitoring and testing networks.

RedTeam performs vulnerability scans and HIPAA penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities before cybercriminals are able to discover and exploit them. This type of assessment carried out by our highly trained security consultants helps the healthcare organization:

  • Identify flaws present in the environment
  • Understand the organization’s level of risk
  • Help address and fix identified flaws

RedTeam Security’s HIPAA penetration testing involves experts who can view the healthcare security posture through the eyes of both developers and hackers. This dual awareness drives their discovery of areas where your security controls can improve. Our consultants then produce findings in written reports and provide your team with the guidance necessary to effectively remediate any issues we uncover.


  • HIPAA Requirements

    To comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare organizations must first understand HIPAA Vulnerability Assessment Requirements.

    The HIPAA Security Rule requires healthcare organizations to document a regular vulnerability scan to assess healthcare devices, applications, and networks for common vulnerabilities and exploits or security weaknesses. Viewed as foundational to compliance, this assessment demands evaluation of risks and vulnerabilities and implementation of “reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect…the security or integrity of ePHI [electronic Protected Health Information].”

    The rule does not mandate a specific risk analysis methodology, as this will be dependent on the organization’s size, complexity, and capabilities. Nevertheless, the analysis is meant to accurately assess policies to prevent, detect, contain, and correct security problems. This high-level scan should be just one step in security testing.

    Meeting the Vulnerability Requirements

    Vulnerabilities can be accidental or intentionally exploited, and generally fall into two categories: technical and non-technical. A HIPAA Vulnerability Scan is typically only going to address technical vulnerabilities that have the potential to result in a security incident.

    There’ s also the non-technical side of things. These vulnerabilities can include ineffective or non-existent policies or procedures to secure ePHI, networks, systems, devices, or even physical premises. This also takes into consideration the human element hackers might exploit through social engineering.

    Achieving a thorough view of all the vulnerabilities — technical and non-technical — requires a deeper dive into the organization’s security protocols, policies, and procedures.

    Manual penetration testing can reveal the real-world ways in which hackers might compromise personnel, physical premises, and networks and IT assets. Experienced, outside professional testers can also help identify appropriate security measures to address potential opportunities for attack.

    With so many areas of risk to remediate, there are several areas that may need attention to eliminate deficiencies:

    • System software
    • Workflow processes
    • Storage methods
    • Policies and procedures
    • Employee training


    RedTeam’s HIPAA penetration testing identifies and documents potential threats and vulnerabilities, and also outlines the likelihood of threat occurrence, examines the potential impact, and determines the reasonable and appropriate security measures to take.

  • Vulnerability Scans

    A HIPAA vulnerability scan is a high-level, semi-automated test for holes, flaws, or weaknesses in development or information systems and for incorrectly implemented and/or configured information systems.

    These scans are typically run quarterly or semi-annually to provide a cybersecurity checkup. It’s also recommended an organization perform a new vulnerability scan whenever it adds new equipment or installs new applications.

    Analyzing and managing risk to protect electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) as well as technical, hardware, and software infrastructure has become a critical part of healthcare organizational management. After all, in the two decades since the introduction of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, technologies have evolved dramatically.

    Healthcare organizations have moved to electronic systems such as:

    • Computerized physician order entry
    • Electronic health records
    • Online patient claims and care management
    • Self-service insurance applications


    Vulnerability scans are a diagnostic tool to help healthcare organizations stay ahead of bad actors and discover vulnerabilities before an unwanted party gains unauthorized access.

  • Penetration Testing

    RedTeam’s testing reveals the real-world ways in which hackers might compromise personnel (via social engineering), physical premises, and networks and IT assets.

    RedTeam Security’s HIPAA penetration testing involves:

    1. Information Gathering
    2. Threat Modeling
    3. Vulnerability Analysis
    4. Exploitation
    5. Post-Exploitation
    6. Reporting

    RedTeam’s industry-standard method facilitates HIPAA compliance. With trained, qualified RedTeamers testing networks, system processes, applications (and dependent software), you’ll minimize risk while benefitting from expert guidance to remediate any issues.

    Manual Testing vs Automated Testing

    Going beyond the high-level automated testing of the vulnerability scan, RedTeam’s testing approach consists of about 80% manual testing and about 20% automated testing – actual results may vary slightly. RedTeam Security provides an effective and comprehensive HIPAA penetration test, identifying and assessing vulnerabilities, which can only be realized through rigorous manual testing techniques.


    In order to perform a comprehensive real-world assessment, RedTeam Security utilizes commercial tools, internally developed tools, and the same tools that bad actors might use to access and exploit healthcare data. Our intent is to assess network and IT asset vulnerabilities by simulating a real-world attack. We leverage the many tools at our disposal to effectively carry out that task — just as would hackers looking to steal identities, blackmail individuals, disrupt services, or install ransomware.


    The reporting phase is not the endpoint of the relationship with RedTeam. We strive to provide the best possible ongoing customer experience and service. Thus, the report is only a small part of your deliverable from our experts. We provide an online remediation knowledge base and dedicated remediation staff because we’re aware that finding vulnerabilities is only valuable to a healthcare organization when they also understand how to fix them.

    RedTeam HIPAA penetration testing identifies areas of noncompliance and provides input into effective and efficient methods of remediation. This commitment to the entire process means RedTeam’s remediation re-testing is always provided at no additional cost.

  • Follow Up

    Identifying and documenting vulnerabilities is only the beginning. Responsible healthcare organizations will also act to address any weaknesses. Just as people must take their shots or swallow their vitamins, a healthcare organization should engage also in active penetration testing to identify appropriate security measures to address potential opportunities for attack.

    RedTeam’s HIPAA penetration testing doesn’t only find vulnerabilities. We also perform manual testing to diagnose false positives and determine the reasonable and appropriate security measures to take in safeguarding management processes, personnel training, information access, facility access and control, workstation and device security, audit controls, transmission security, and ePHI integrity.

    Building on the HIPAA vulnerability scan with thorough penetration testing, RedTeam’s security experts identify weaknesses and share a security test report. Our testing team also continues to provide suggested best practices to reach your primary security goals. That’s why remediation re-testing is always provided at no additional cost.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist

Are you complying with the security standards outlined within the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act? Download our free checklist to find out.

HIPAA compliance checklist



Our Penetration Testing, Social Engineering and Red Teaming services go beyond the checkbox to help prevent data breaches

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