Cybersecurity & Ransomware Warnings

March 10th, 2022 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Content
Categories:   Practice Management  
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Although HIPAA Security protocols have been in effect for some time, as technology advances, if we are not diligent, gaps can be left available for intruders. On top of that, on February 23, 2022, the American Hospital Association issued a cybersecurity advisory. They stated, “there is concern that Russia may retaliate against the U.S. and allied nations with disruptive cyberattacks.” Cyberattacks are nothing new, but in a situation like this extra caution is certainly warranted. Now is the time to re-evaluate your security protocols and remind all employees to be vigilant.

According to one company, healthcare has always been a target for cyberattacks for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Private patient information has a high payback for attackers
  • Medical devices are often easy to hack into
  • Healthcare workers in hospitals often require information “on the go”
  • Healthcare information is required to be sharable to meet interoperability standards
  • Smaller healthcare organizations often do not have a dedicated technology department to ensure stronger security.

Cybersecurity Action Plan for Healthcare

We encourage your organization to take steps right away to double-check your security protocols such as doing the following:

  • Remind all staff about security protocols including phishing, passwords, and email attachments. 
  • Patch and upgrade software to current versions.
  • Complete your annual Security Risk Assessment.
  • Maintain encrypted regular backups of data offline and TEST your backups.

In July 2021, the U.S. Government announced that they had “launched a new website to help public and private organizations defend against the rise in ransomware cases. StopRansomware.gov is a whole-of-government approach that gives one central location for ransomware resources and alerts. We encourage organizations to use this new website to understand the threat of ransomware, mitigate risk, and in the event of an attack, know what steps to take next.” This website includes an excellent guide for comprehensive security information. COVID has stretched healthcare resources and criminals will take advantage of this fact, so please remain cautious and keep your organization secure.

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