Wow, what a year!
2020 has been a banner year for cybercriminals. They have stolen billions of dollars and data on billions of individuals by preying on widespread fear and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we all know, unprecedented numbers of employees are working from home during this pandemic year. In fact, one recent survey by SaaS marketing agency Bay Leaf Digital found that 65 percent of newly WFH employees are now using company devices from home – and 42 percent are experiencing unstable access including issues with connecting to remote desktops, poor VPN, etc.
A brief glance through my spam folder in MDaemon Webmail recently reminded me of the need for on-going education on the topic of phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams. I’d like to be able to tell you that the recent crush of cyberattacks on the healthcare sector, as exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has run its course – but then I’d be the one scamming. Looking through the latest Health IT Security monthly news archive turns up a long litany of phishing, ransomware, malware, spoofing, password theft and other data leaks, and server vulnerabilities that affect millions of patients and financial donors – and it’s not even the end of the month.
It’s OK, we understand. You thought you and your employees would all be safely back in the office by now. However, we’re all still adjusting to this new normal of exponentially more remote working – and exponentially more cyberattacks. Every day, hackers seek to exploit not only fear and insecurity caused by the pandemic, but the security loopholes created as more employees access their email and other work systems from remote devices. According to one report, streaming phishing sites saw an 85-percent increase from January to March, with more than 209 malicious websites being created every day. A record 25,000 confirmed phishing pages were created on March 19 alone!
It's just a fact of life: If there's email, there will always be spam. If you’re involved with email security for a healthcare organization, 2020 is absolutely the year you can’t afford not to take this seriously. The healthcare sector has become a major target for cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and these attacks are successful so often that Becker’s Hospital Review publishes a monthly update on healthcare provider malware, ransomware and phishing incidents. The most recent list includes:
When it comes to email archiving, healthcare organizations require capabilities that continuously meet stringent healthcare-related regulations including HIPAA, privacy regulations such as CCPA, and financial protections such as PCI DSS compliance. This is even more critical in 2020, when the health sector leads all industries in annual data breach costs – with a global average of $7.13 million! – due to federal and state regulations.
Whether you run a multi-campus medical center or a small private practice, you’ve likely heard about cyber criminals who try to trick you and your employees into clicking a link or downloading an attachment so they can steal your organization’s money or protected data.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud services across all industries, but particularly for healthcare providers. If your healthcare organization is considering moving your email from on-premise servers to the cloud, you must do your due diligence around significant security drawbacks that may overshadow the perceived benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a boon for bad actors across the digital landscape. In July, for instance, authorities in the U.S., U.K. and Canada all issued warnings about serious cyberattacks against healthcare organizations and others involved in the coronavirus response. The purpose of these attacks? Theft of intellectual property during the race to develop a vaccine. The tool of choice? Spear-phishing email attacks.