Best Defense Against Ransomware is a Good Backup

By now, most have heard or been affected by the WannaCry ransomware that has spread to over 150 countries at last count. The WannaCry ransomware started taking over users' files on Friday, demanding $300 to restore access. Hundreds of thousands of computers have been affected so far. Computer giant Microsoft said the attack should serve as a wake-up call. The first line of defense in this is always having a properly maintained firewall both on your network and on each individual computer system. Ho ...

The greatest threat comes from within

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the greatest threat is from within. In today’s focus on cyber-security world, we tend to focus on keeping people out of our network as a primary method to keep our sensitive data, such as ePHI, safe. While that is incredibly important, we should make sure not to overlook the threat posed by those we do grant access. How much of a threat is it? Well, roughly half of all attacks originate from inside the company - and not all are with malicious intent. Part of the prob ...

HIMSS17 – Are medical devices the weak link in cyber security?

According to a post on HIPAA Journal, 60% of healthcare organizations have already introduced networked medical devices into their technical infrastructure. Networked medical devices are the healthcare version of the “internet of things” (IoT) – smart devices that communicate with applications, such as the EHR, and with one another without human intervention. The problem – many medical devices aren’t cyber-secure!  89% of the organizations reporting the use of networked medical devices also repor ...

Focus on Technology: Change Your Router Passwords!

One of the most common services in healthcare is the connection to the internet. With all the focus on security and cyber breaches, one of the most vulnerable pieces on your connection to the internet is what is called the router / gateway. The router / gateway connects your computers and devices to the public internet and in many cases provides the initial security or barrier through the use of a built-in firewall. The problem is, that while this is the door, the gateway to the internet, it is a two way ...

Why using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail in healthcare is bad

Time and time again we see healthcare organizations using free email accounts. While convenient, it is an extremely dangerous decision in a world where HIPAA fines are increasing in cost and occurrence. If you or your employees have access to or use the free email services from you organization’s network, either officially for business and/or for personal use, you are at an extreme risk of being breached! Why? Think about what can be sent via email. Whether you are using email to send patients r ...

Experian predicts more pain and suffering for healthcare industry

Experian released their fourth annual 2017 DATA BREACH INDUSTRY FORECAST. It covers several industry specific predictions, including Healthcare.  If you haven't heard, healthcare is under attack and it's going to be full on war in 2017.  The cyber attackers are expected to re-invest funds to create more sophisticated software and better targeting of data to steal. A few points made in the report: Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) or patient records are one of the most valuable sources of data ...

Protect your patients, protect your practice, protect yourself.

The healthcare industry is beginning to realize that HIPAA is here to stay and they are probably going to be audited sooner or later.  What physicians and all healthcare providers need to understand is that if you don't protect your patients' PHI/ePHI the following can happen to your patients as a result of their identity being stolen and used. NOT Protecting Your Patients' (PHI/ePHI): You can cause them financial difficulties or even financial ruin. You can cause them undue stress, even a str ...

Misconceptions Lead to False Sense of Security

In mid-August, The National Law Review reported the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it would focus more on smaller breaches, those affecting less than 500 individuals.  I think this reflects the growing concern that Small to Medium Business (SMB) are more vulnerable.  They are also less capable of detecting, responding to and reporting breaches.  IBM estimates that 80% of cyber thefts suffered by SMBs go unreported.  This is due to lack of detection, embarrassment, and fear of social media backl ...

OCR HIPAA Audits: Don’t gamble your organization’s solvency

Risk of Random Selection for an OCR Audit: 1%-5% In July of this year, the OCR began Phase II of their HIPAA Compliance Audit process. They randomly-selected 167 Covered Entities for a “desk audit” and plan to conduct an additional 50-75 onsite audits over the course of the year. A similar process will be used to select and audit a sample of Business Associates beginning in September. Given the hundreds to thousands of Covered Entities and Business Associates in any particular category, the risk o ...

Healthcare under attack by new strain of ransomware

FireEye Labs has identified massive email campaigns by cyber-criminals during Aug, 2016 containing the Locky ransomware embedded in DOCM attachments.  DOCM is Open XML Macro-Enabled Document file used in Microsoft Word.  Which means the file contains a macro which MS Word will execute when you open the file in MS Word.  Healthcare is the leading industry targeted by the campaign. The healthcare industry is now the "industry of choice" by cyber-criminals since Protected Health Information (PHI/ePHI) i ...

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