Tag: Bill DeLisi

Tips For Preventing Ransomware Among U.S. Hospitals and Healthcare Providers

By Bill DeLisi, CEO and CTO, GOFBA, Inc.

Bill DeLisi

In October 2020 a joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI noted there is a “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat” affecting U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. A main part of this threat features ransomware attacks, where hackers take control of data and systems to extract ransoms.

The alert detailed the actions of a Russian-speaking group called Ryuk and a type of trojan known as Trickbot. Even more alarming, many healthcare providers might already be infected with malware, with hackers waiting for an opportune time to launch an attack and cripple the organization’s operations.

To prevent successful ransomware attacks, hospital IT and management teams need to implement multi-pronged strategies focusing on training, technology solutions, and other best practices. See below for a few actionable tips to include in your plan.

Preventing Intrusions with Training

A fall 2020 phishing attack against the University of Missouri Health Center exposed data for more than 14,000 patients. The health center noted two employee email accounts were hacked, which led to data access to Social Security numbers, clinical information, and other patient-specific data. The breach underscores the threat of staff members as the most prevalent conduit for hackers. Preventing such instances takes diligent training that helps workers understand the various threats and how they should adjust their behaviors accordingly. This is critically important.

Hackers also attack healthcare providers to take advantage of overworked nurses, doctors, and other clinical staff. COVID-19 places enormous strain on these workers, and they may not make the best IT-related decisions when they’re functioning on limited sleep and enormous stress.

Preventing the “human element” that leads to ransomware attacks requires diligent training. Here are some key tips for employees:

Manage Remote Workers

The number of at-home healthcare workers is exploding due to COVID-19, as administrative and billing roles are easily handled through online platforms. And, with the rise in telemedicine, more practitioners are setting up HIPPA-compliant communications tools from home.

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