Healthcare Facilities Fall for Pandemic-Related Cybercrimes

Hands typing on a laptop.

Criminals will capitalize on situations whenever they feel like there is an opportunity. When it comes to cybercrimes, there has been a significant increase of malicious attacks in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As frustrating as it is to think that criminals are attempting to profit from a crisis, there are things that can be done to thwart them as much as possible. Some cyber criminals are focusing their efforts on healthcare facilities, and it is more important than ever that these facilities make the effort to protect themselves.

Why Are Healthcare Facilities Vulnerable Right Now?

There is no question that healthcare facilities are being specifically targeted by cyber criminals. Pharmaceutical companies, healthcare organizations, medical research companies, universities, and government response groups have all been threatened. They are all involved in pandemic response. Most likely, these groups are being targeted because cyber criminals are after research data, personal information, and intelligence on research and health policy. Cyber criminals know that these facilities are overwhelmed and are hoping that there is a weak link that they can exploit, giving them access to a potential gold mine of information. When healthcare facilities made the shift to administrative work being done remotely, the potential for online attacks went up even further.

What Are Some of the Cyber Security Best Practices that Facilities Can Take?

Although threats are ever evolving, there are certain cyber security best practices that facilities can take to put up the best defense.

  • Review and Update Incident Management Processes

It is crucial to have a plan in place before an incident happens. A quality process will include a list of possible incidents, who will address each incident, and what the steps will be to respond.

  • Prioritize Password Security

Facilities should ensure that all users understand the importance of secure passwords, which should be updated as necessary. Even if a hacker is only able to guess one password, they can use that access to reach more information. Passwords should be complex and random, and should be changed immediately in case of a threat. If multi-factor authentication is not already in place, consider implementing this as an extra layer of security.

  • Make Sure All Systems, Devices, and Software are Up-to-Date

Updates should be implemented as soon as they are available, including software patches. Because they have stronger security, updated hardware should be used whenever possible.

  • Invest in Antivirus Software and Other Technology

If your facility is using older devices, updating the antivirus software is crucial to help protect against threats. Alerts should be enabled so all threats are dealt with as soon as possible.

Cybersecurity is never something that should be taken lightly. During the COVID-19 response, it is even more important to protect your personal information. Criminals will always try to capitalize on situations when potential victims are in a place of uncertainty and distracted. Right now they know that healthcare facilities are overwhelmed, making them more vulnerable. By researching and implementing cyber security best practices, healthcare facilities can keep themselves and their clients safe from these threats. Let us help you with your data protection needs. Contact AccuShred for more information about our data destruction services or to schedule an assessment of your current data security measures.