Home Blog Page 3

How to Secure Mobile Medical Device from Hackers in 10 steps.

0
Close up of a senior man consulting with a doctor on his phone

How Can You Protect Your Health Information on a Mobile Device?

With the increase in mobile device ownership which includes smartphones and tablets, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to the internet for answers to their health concerns. While this is good for patients, it’s also an attractive target for hackers.
We have access to the health information on our smartphones, which can be useful when we need to know something quickly. However, this convenience comes at a cost—we’re not always aware of the risks that come along with using a mobile device to store and share sensitive information.

It’s been reported that less than 50 percent of Americans have taken action to protect their personal health information on a mobile device. (Source; Akasa Automation Report). The benefits of protecting this information are far too great for any person, company, or organization to ignore. It can be secured and protected by applying the following ways:

Password Authenticator

Password authentication is a method in which a user enters a unique ID and key, which is then compared to previously stored credentials. It is one of the quickest forms of security; you can set up your device to require some identification before letting someone access your phone. It can be in a Passcode, PIN, Password, Fingerprint, or 2-factor authentication can be adopted as well.

Multi-factor authentication or 2FA is an additional layer of protection that verifies that anyone attempting to access an online account are who they claim to be. The user must first provide their username and password. They will then be requested to submit another piece of information before they can receive access.

Installing and Enabling Encryption

Encryption is the process in which you convert your data into a form that cannot be accessed or decrypted without the relevant password or key. As a security protocol businesses should encrypt all the data, including the data on mobile devices with information you are receiving and sending to others.

No matter what source of communication you are using, your data remains protected from any unauthorized users and breaches. Encryption of data can be done with various methods, but you might have first to test out your phone’s encryption capabilities if it has built-in full disk encryption or AES 128/ 256 encryption. If it does not have built-in encryption, you might have to use third-party software such as dm-crypt to do the job or work with your Managed IT services to ensure mobile data encryption is included in the device’s security plan.

Use Remote Wiping/Disabling

Remote wipe is a security feature that allows a network administrator or device owner to send a command to a computer device that erases data. It is generally used to wipe data from a device that has been lost or stolen so that the data is not compromised if the device falls into the wrong hands. It can also be used to delete data from a device that has changed owners or administrators and can no longer be physically accessed.
Remote wiping is regarded as a security feature that can be used to wipe your medical device from anywhere around the world if it is lost or stolen. Patients take the medical devices with them to home for gathering and monitoring their health data and end up getting them lost. When used correctly, this feature can save all the essential information and data stored on your phone from the hands of a stranger.

Some mobile devices come with this feature in-built and can be enabled through the safety and privacy or lost device settings. You can set it up and control your phone with your desktop or laptop. Besides this, you can also use it so that if there is an excessive passcode failure, your device will be temporarily disabled to save your data from being compromised.

Install only trusted File-Sharing Applications

Some software’s are designed to share or trade your data with other phones or devices using an internet connection. Such applications can have uninterrupted access to all the files on your phone without your knowledge. Sharing data through these applications is subject to malware, hacking, and loss of sensitive information. Therefore make sure to share files through hardline connections only or use only trusted apps that are HIPAA compliant file-sharing platforms.

Therefore, you should pay close attention to the software that has permission to access your data. If you don’t see the need for an application or find it suspicious, disabling or uninstalling such applications reduces your risk of leaking personal information.

Use a Firewall

You can intercept all the unnecessary incoming and outgoing attempts by simply introducing a personal firewall to your connection. It can block any malicious attacks and only allows connections that fulfill the set criteria. For healthcare businesses, just a simple firewall on your system won’t work rather work building remote management of firewall policies into the devices themselves. Along with firewall activity logging and disabling unnecessary non-healthcare IT ports.

If your device has a built-in firewall, you should activate it as soon as possible, and if you are having trouble finding it, you can always find a solution on the internet. But in case it doesn’t, you can also download third-party software that can do this job.

Using Security Software

Security software is designed to protect your healthcare device from any malicious software or files; this includes viruses, malware, and spam. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals use tablets for patient info all the time. You can increase the security level of your device by installing good security software such as PC doctor and mdsguard and keeping it up to date.

This type of software comes in various forms, each having its designated role, such as anti-theft, anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall solutions, etc.

Keep Your Security Software Up to Date

Security risks and threats such as viruses and malware are changing their codes hastily. To keep up with these changes, keep all of your security software up to date so that they are ready to tackle any threat that comes their way.

Research Mobile Applications Before Downloading

There is a plethora of excellent health apps and technology available today. Third-party apps, on the other hand, come with third-party code flaws. When you integrate that product into your system, the entire network is put in danger. Ascertain that the app’s security meets FDA and HIPPA requirements. Any mobile application has the capability of compromising your data to the wrong hands. They can copy your contacts, get information about your address, passwords, or any other private data without you ever knowing about it.

Therefore, whenever you download an application for your phone, make sure that you read all the specifications and required permissions first. You can install the application only after you completely understand it. Also, TEST TEST TEST. Avoid having to respond to breaches and device failures in the field by detecting security flaws during development and testing.

Maintain Physical Control

Another method to secure your data is to remain in physical control of your device at all times. A small and portable mobile phone has a greater risk of being lost or stolen, which can easily result in your data being compromised in the wrong hands.

On the other hand, not letting other people use your device, locking your device when not in use, and physically securing it can exponentially increase your security and save your device from any external breach or tempering.

Secure Your Information on Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi connections are the hub of public gathering, and this means that there are loads of data being transferred from mobile devices and the internet connection points. The problem with these connections is that they don’t have any security, and your data can be quickly interrupted while being transferred.=

It is why you should never opt to use them in the first place. But in case of an emergency where you don’t have any choice, you should have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) software on your phone that can encrypt all of your data while passing through the internet connection.

Conclusion

There’s no easy answer to this question. It’s always a good idea to be careful about what you share with others, but that doesn’t help when your device is already infected with malware.

To summarize, be smart when using health apps on your mobile device. Consider how much valuable information you may be inadvertently giving away. Also, remember to be proactive each time you download an app and read through the terms and conditions of service carefully.

When it comes to protecting your health information on a mobile device, the first thing you should do is evaluate what apps and data you need access to. You can also use various solutions that exist today such as Protected Harbor’s Protected phones with a secure remote wipe system and set strong passwords for every app that stores sensitive health information. Protected harbor with its experienced team and state of art technologies has been servicing the healthcare industry, contact us now to know how we do it.

10 Tips for Healthcare Organizations to Minimize Security Threat

0

With the advent of IT in Healthcare and the increased use of technology and computers to store and manage patients’ data, healthcare organizations continually face evolving cyber threats. Technology has continuously introduced new challenges to the healthcare industry, and hackers have taken note. Health information is valuable in the black market, and it is now more critical than ever for healthcare organizations to protect themselves from cyberattacks. The more a healthcare organization relies on technology, the more vulnerable it becomes to a cyberattack without a proper safety infrastructure. The patient’s safety and privacy are so jeopardized.

Healthcare has seen a significant increase in coverage and connectivity with the growing application of mobile devices, telemedicine, and health technology. 12.5 million records were breached containing medical and patient information in 2021. (Source – https://cit.cyberpeaceinstitute.org/)

The cyber threats and security vulnerabilities to healthcare facility data can jeopardize patient protected health information (PHI), distract healthcare professionals, as well as potentially harm its reputation within your community.

Protected Harbor presents a 10-step checklist that Healthcare IT professionals can implement to overcome the cyber security challenges:

Understand your Network Map:

IT professionals in the healthcare industry employ several technologies to identify the devices and data on their networks. By doing this, they will know what unknown and unauthorized devices are connected to the network and which data is more prone to vulnerabilities. Using such technology will also restrict unwanted devices from accessing the network or data.

Update All Office Software:

It is essential for Healthcare IT professionals to ensure that all the software and operating systems throughout the organization are up to date and maintained as cyber attackers may try to invade the system via previously found weakness or bug in the software. Security maintenance and software updates must be done regularly.

Improve Your VPN Encryption:

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an excellent way to hide the information that your computer sends or receives. You may prevent hackers from receiving any information about your network by encrypting it, even if they are monitoring your computers, by encrypting it.

Move to a Virtual Server:

By moving to a virtual server, you can better control who can access your data, information, and systems. Furthermore, virtualization provides efficient access to shared records, increased security, and an easy transition to mobiles.

Use Effective EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response Tools):

The EDR tools detect any attackers trying to evade a healthcare system. The Healthcare IT Professionals should use practical EDR tools to ensure that the system is protected from attackers and any hacking attempts are appropriately tackled.

Conduct Regular Audits:

The IT Administrators in healthcare organizations should conduct regular audits from time to time. They should make sure that any new information is added or the authorized users update any existing data. The users are creating strong passwords that are hard to crack, and access should be reviewed so that the previous employees could not access the patients’ data.

Install Remote Wiping and Disabling on all Mobile Medical Devices:

The Remote Wiping or disabling enables you to remotely remove or deactivate any accounts on mobile devices. The Healthcare IT Professionals should install some Remote Wiping tools on all the portable medical devices to erase the data from the devices if they get misplaced or stolen.

Isolated Backup and Validate the Backup:

Isolated backups ensure that ransomware does not infect your backup repository. If this happened, it would be a very horrible day, and it can happen right now. Many backup tools mount volumes to infected workstations, backup to this mount point, and then unmount.

The technique for creating isolated backups varies by product, but the most critical step is to make sure the backup repositories aren’t accessed like a filesystem. To put it another way, backup tools that mount repositories or target systems should be avoided. There are two aspects that must be safeguarded. The repository is one thing, and the backup server is another.
The remote backup should be validated from time to time to maintain an updated status of the data. When you have a remote backup, you can quickly recover all your data even if the local backup has been affected by a cyberattack.

Use Two Factor Authentication:

The passwords can easily be guessed or hacked by attackers. The Two Factor Authentication requires that the user enter two or more factors to authenticate himself before accessing any computer, network, or system. Whenever someone tries to make changes in the existing data or add new information to the system, the system should authenticate the user through two-factor authentication. Healthcare IT professionals should try to implement the Two Factor Authentication.

Use Professional Services:

To achieve more cyber security and tackle any issues you face regarding the safety of your data and system, you should seek professional help and assign the task of managing the system security to some external agency. This way, you will be able to achieve a system that is less prone to any attacks.

Pro Tip: Use Protected Harbor:

The Protected Harbor is a data center that provides you with the best solutions to tackle most of your healthcare organization’s information system and networks issues. It protects your data centers from attacks, outages, and downtime in the best ways possible.

The Protected Harbor offers you:

  • Enhanced Security
  • Quick Access Anytime
  • Reduced Downtime
  • Work in Realtime

Furthermore, it offers Free IT Consultation for you to get better advice. You can choose whatever payment plan suits you the most. The Protected Harbor provides the services at the most reasonable price. So, why compromise your data security to save some money? Visit www.protectedharbor.com now and choose the best plan or consult the IT specialists for free!

Conclusion:

In a nutshell, this passage suggests the best yet most effective techniques to prevent any cyber-attacks and minimize the security threats that a Healthcare organization may face regarding its information system or the network. By following the guidelines provided in this passage, you will achieve a highly secure information system. This way, your data will be more protected from any unauthorized access or cybercriminals.

Stop Security Threats to IT Systems and Networks in 24 hours.

0
Network connection and cloud storage technology concept. Data communications and cloud computing network concept. Smart phone flying on paper cloud. Origami. Paper cut. Top view

Healthcare organizations have always been vulnerable to different types of cyber threats. The recent reports by the Department of Health and Human Services highlight that healthcare is facing more severe security threats. To make IT systems more secure, organizations need to have a proper defensive approach to minimize data security threats, particularly ransomware attacks. The key to implementing such defensive measures is understanding the potential cyber threats. The data includes the patients’ information in Electronic Health Records (EHR) or electronic journals. The patient’s information is the most sensitive piece of data a Healthcare organization holds. The more sensitive information an organization has, the more it’s crucial to secure the data, as the attackers and hackers can get loads of data by breaching a single system.

In addition to data theft, the other security threats that Healthcare IT (HCIT) face includes:

  • Ransomware
  • Denial of Service
  • Phishing

Although Healthcare Organizations nowadays use technology to make their systems as secure as possible, they still need to take some measures to minimize these security threats to their IT systems and Networks.

By using the guide given in this article, you can prevent your system from Healthcare Data Breach:

  • Use Two-Factor Authentication:

Two-factor authentication(2FA), also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA), is used by most companies to validate who accesses their system. It requires users to verify their identity by using only authenticated users’ information. Implementing two-factor authentication in a healthcare IT system is essential to comply with HIPAA laws and protect patients’, employees’, and other organizational data. Furthermore, it helps secure the system by ensuring that only authenticated and verified users access the system at any given time.

The healthcare organization can implement the two-factor authentication either by developing their system or integrating a pre-built tool such as:

  • Duo Security
  • Google Authenticator
  • Last-Pass
  • One-Login

Move to a virtual server:

A server that shares the hardware and software resources with other operating systems is called a virtual server. You can re-create the functionality of a physical server through a virtual server. Multiple virtual servers can be set on a single physical server. They help in better resource allocation and utilization and allow for hardware independence, mobility/failover, and advanced disaster recovery. By moving to a virtual server, healthcare organizations can control who accesses their data, information, networks, and systems and improve resiliency and uptime.

Moving to a virtual server is essential as it has so many benefits that address the security concerns that a healthcare organization faces. These benefits include getting the ability to prioritize the critical traffic and improving the network agility while reducing the burden from the IT department.

healthcare organization can move to a virtual server by using any industry-standard hypervisor (virtualization software), such as:

  • VMWare
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • SolarWinds Virtualization Manager
  • V2 Cloud
  • Parallels Desktop
  • Oracle VM Virtual Box

Use Effective EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response Tools): 

The Endpoint Detection and Response Tools (EDR) is the technology that alerts the security teams regarding any malicious activity or security threat. They enable fast investigation and containment of attacks at endpoints (an employee’s workstation, a cloud system, a server, mobile or IoT device).

Using Effective EDR tools can help you improve the security of your network by aggregating data on endpoints, including process execution, endpoint communication, and user logins. It is vital to use practical EDR tools to detect and respond to any suspicious activities as soon as they are performed.

Here is a list of the best EDR tools:

  • FireEye
  • Symantec
  • RSA
  • CrowdStrike
  • Cybereason
  • Cynet Security
  • System Center Configuration Manager Endpoint Protection

Understand Your Network Map: 

network map visualizes the devices on a network, their inter-relationship, and transport layers that provide the network services. It can be considered a tool that provides the network users, administrators, managers, and IT professionals an understanding of network layout and performance.

Understanding the network map is critical to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws as it provides an overview of devices and data on your network. This overview is crucial in identifying and minimizing the attack surface of a system. It will also uncover devices that IT staff may not know are there- for instance, an old, decommissioned server.

To monitor your network map, you can use tools that help you understand the interconnectivity of devices and data flow through the network. Understanding the data flow can help pinpoint what information is vulnerable to attack and how. Here is a list of tools specifically developed for this purpose:

  • SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (NTM)
  • Edraw Max
  • Paessler PRTG Network Monitor
  • Nagios
  • ManageEngine OP Manager
  • Lucid Chart and so on.

Update All Software:

Different Healthcare organizations use multiple software throughout the organization to perform various tasks. Different versions of the software are released from time to time to reduce the weaknesses and other loopholes in the previous versions.

Keeping all the software up to date is essential for the better performance of the software. It also helps discourage potential cyber criminals who take advantage of previously-found weaknesses in software.

Whenever a new version of the software is released, the software developers inform all users regarding the updates. The IT admins should update all the software and operating systems throughout the organization from time to time to keep their IT system and network security.

Improve Your VPN Encryption: 

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps you establish the private network while using the public networks. You can encrypt your internet connection and hide your online identity using a VPN. VPN encryption is a process by which a VPN hides your data when it enters and passes through its tunnels.

Being a healthcare organization, hiding your network details is essential as much critical data is being sent and received over your network. When using a VPN, you can stop attackers from getting any information regarding your network even if they already monitor it.

You can use and improve your VPN Encryption by:

  • Using IPSec Protocols
  • Using the most robust encryption and hashing algorithms and key groups (AES256, SHA256, DH14)
  • Stopping DNS Leaks
  • Using a Kill Switch
  • Using a Network Lock
  • Stopping IPV6 Leaks
  • Limiting VPN Access

Conduct Regular Audits:

Auditing is a process of examining how well a healthcare organization’s system conforms to an established set of security criteria. It includes assessing the security of the system’s physical configuration, information handling processes, user practices, and software.

Conducting regular audits is vital to identify security problems and system weaknesses, establish a security baseline to compare the future audits, comply with internal and external security policies, and identify unnecessary resources. It also helps ensure that any information is being added or updated in the system by an authenticated user, and no one can access the system without verifying their identity.

While performing an audit, system administrators should ensure that the system uses two-step authentication, all users use a strong password, and change it at regular intervals. They should also evaluate the access credentials to ensure that the previous employees do not access the data.

Install Remote Wiping and Disabling on all Mobile Medical Devices:

Remote wiping and disabling is a way to remotely remove or lock the data and user accounts from a mobile device if it is misplaced or stolen. Having remote access to your devices is a significant security feature that helps you control your device remotely.

It is essential that healthcare organizations install remote wiping and disabling on all mobile medical devices to remove their data and accounts if it ever gets stolen or lost. Remote wiping and disabling is a security function that allows you to remotely erase the data on the device or lock the device, even when the device is lost or stolen. You can destroy data stored on your lost or stolen mobile device if you enable the remote wipe feature on your device.

Nowadays, most devices have in-built remote wiping and disabling features that the authorized user can easily enable. But, if a device does not have it, any remote wiping and the disabling tool could easily be installed on the device.

Isolated Backups and Validate the Backup:

A backup that is stored separately from other backups and is inaccessible from the end-user layer is called a remote backup. Creating an isolated backup helps reduce security breaches, especially ransomware attacks. Ransomware is an attack that quickly encrypts all files on a hard drive and starts attacking other devices connected to a network. Creating local backups is not enough to prevent the system and network from this attack, so isolated backups are the best choice. An organization can quickly recover all its data if it has a remote backup.

A remote backup can be created by moving a backup on remote servers and an isolated network that can be accessed occasionally. Once created, it should be validated from time to time to keep it updated.

Use Professional Services:

Although healthcare organizations have many options to increase their system and network security and manage the potential threats, it does not meet the level of expertise required to mitigate these threats. Using a professional service is important as you cannot handle all types of threats yourself. You, at some point, will need to seek professional help to tackle the security breaches, so it is better to assign the task of managing the system security to an external agency. This way, you will no longer have to worry about data and network security, and your team will be able to focus on medical-related tasks.

There are so many professional services available to help you protect your data and network, such as:

  • DataNetworks
  • Keyavi Data
  • Digital Guardian
  • Protected Harbor

Protected Harbor data center is the best solution to tackle most of your healthcare organization’s information system and network issues.

We offer you:

  • Enhanced Security
  • Quick Access Anytime
  • Reduced Downtime
  • Work in Realtime
  • 99.99% uptime

Healthcare IT professionals must take action now to minimize security threats. Protected Harbor helps healthcare IT professionals protect data and applications, increase uptime, and reduce costs.  So, why compromise your data security to save some money? Contact us today to learn more about how you can secure your healthcare data.

How to stop a data breach

0

Data breach has become more common every year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) data breach 2021 report there were over 1291 data breaches that exposed more than 7 billion records last year. Data breaches can harm your company’s reputation, bringing production to a halt, and even cause enough financial harm to send your company under. In this article, we will review what is data breach and how to stop one?

What is a data breach?

A data breach is a cyber-attack where unauthorized individuals gain access to sensitive personal or confidential information. When a security breach occurs, the hacker can steal and misuse personally identifiable information (PII) such as social security numbers, credit card details, bank account numbers, and even your protected health information (PHI) that could be used for fraudulent activity. A data breach on an organization leads to the release of client information or internal content, moreover, it can be intentional (theft, sabotage) or unintentional (internal error).

Among the data breaches, this year, the manufacturing and utilities sectors were deeply affected, accounting for 48 breaches and 48,294,629 victims. The healthcare sector was second, with 78 compromises and more than 7 million victims. In addition, financial services, government, and professional services each sustained more than 1.5 million victims.

Security magazine’s top data breaches list for 2021:

  • Brazilian Database — 223 million, January
  • Bykea — 400 million, January
  • Facebook — 553 million, August
  • LinkedIn — 700 million, June
  • Cognyte — 5 billion, June
  • Other notable breaches: Ubiquiti, Clubhouse, USCellular, Twitch, T-Mobile, Panasonic, GoDaddy

 

How do breaches happen?

Data breaches come in many forms. In the case of Asian delivery and rental company Bykea, it was a lack of server encryption. A flaw in Facebook’s address book contacts import feature was their undoing. Cognyte let an unsecured database get indexed, Twitch got hit due to a bad server configuration, and for T-Mobile, it was weak access control points.

Missing Security Patches –  Security tools can become outdated quickly and updates are needed to stop new threats. It’s not just antivirus software that needs patching, many network-level vulnerabilities are caused by unpatched Cisco, Microsoft, and Apache applications.

Unencrypted Data – It is simply plaintext or unaltered data that can be accessed by anyone. This can be sensitive information stored online on cloud servers with no layers of protection. By using encryption, you can prevent brute force attacks and cyberattacks, such as malware and ransomware. Using encryption, data is protected while being transmitted in the cloud or on a computer system.

Phishing – This is the most common hacking technique, that can trick an employee into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Phishing attacks are used by hackers to gain direct access to a target’s email, social media, or other accounts or to change or compromise connected systems, such as point-of-sale machines and order processing systems.

Spyware – This is a type of malware that tracks your activity until a hacker has what they need to strike. Employee’s don’t even have to download an infected file to get tagged with spyware,

Worms – This is a type of malware hackers install onto a system’s memory. Once installed, worms infect your entire system, stealing data directly, changing system files, or opening a backdoor for hackers to control later on.

Virus – This relies on an employee activating the infected file themselves. The majority of viruses are downloaded from shady websites, usually by people who have no idea what they’re doing. This is another example in support of employee cybersecurity education.

Trojan horses – Attacks of this type pretend to be another program. If you attempt to pirate software or download it from an untrustworthy source, it will often come packaged with a trojan horse. After you’ve installed your program, it often works as it should, but at the same time, a trojan horse is collecting your data or controlling your PC in the background.

Ransomware– The most obvious and dangerous type of malware is ransomware. Viruses, worms, and trojan horses make it onto the computer, and it then annihilates it. To unlock the victim’s system, hackers force them to pay a ransom, often in bitcoin. Victims of cyber-attacks have in some cases paid millions of dollars to get back access to their networks.

How to prevent a data breach?

A data breach is a threat to every organization. It can happen to anyone, from the smallest e-commerce company to the largest bank. Although it’s on the rise, It can be avoided if you know how.

The first step is to stop thinking about your data as “yours” and start thinking of it as “theirs.” The security of your data is no longer just about what you can do to protect it; now, it’s also about what others can do to steal it. It’s not enough to secure your own network. You must also take steps to secure the networks and computer systems of those who connect to yours. Below are the best practices to follow to prevent data breaches:

  1. Educate and train your employees- Employees might be a weak link in the data security chain, and of-course human being human, open suspicious emails every day. A proper training and awareness plan would minimize the chances. As part of this effort, you can teach them how to create strong passwords, how often passwords should be changed, and how to identify, avoid, and report phishing scams.
  2. Create procedures and update software regularly- It’s wise to create data security procedures and update them consistently. Install patches, application software, and operating systems whenever available. Performing regular security audits reveals data integrity and serves as a data protection checklist. Also, perform regular vulnerability checks. Businesses must include in their vulnerability assessments all aspects, from data storage to remote access for employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy as well as policies and procedures.
  3. Data backup, recovery, and remote monitoring- It’s utterly important to have your data backed up because sometimes data breaches can delete your data. Your IT team should have a 24×7 remote monitoring of your network and an automated remote backup system in place. You can work with an MSP if you don’t have a dedicated IT team.
  4. Encrypt data- To maintain the confidentiality of your data while using email or other services, make sure that they are encrypted before they are being sent. Ensure your team has a dedicated Wi-Fi network that the public cannot access. The most sensitive data may need to be restricted from Wi-Fi use since it may allow cybercriminals to intercept it.
  5. Data protection regulations compliance- Organizations must adhere to the regulations and compliances to manage data privacy and people’s data. Companies that store, process, or transmit credit card information must abide by the PCI DSS to safeguard sensitive PII such as credit card numbers. The HIPAA regulations govern who can view and use protected health information, such as the name and Social Security number of patients.
  6. Developing data breach response plan- Even though many companies haven’t developed response plans for breaches yet, such a framework has an important role to play in dealing with cybersecurity incidents, limiting damages, and rebuilding trust among employees and the public. To do this, you need to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of those tasked with handling breaches. A summary of the investigation process should also be included. Additionally, consider multi-factor authentication and encryption as methods of protecting your data.

To wrap things up

A data breach can happen to anyone and when it does, it’s not just your business that is affected. It’s your customers, employees, and brand. To mitigate the risks of a data breach by implementing a strategy that fits your organization’s needs it is important to invest in full-proof security and follow the best practices. Data breach response plans and the security infrastructure vary from organization to organization.

But you don’t have to go it alone. Partnering with a data security and managed IT services provider who understands your business and application needs can help set you up for success. Cisco, Symantec, Transunion, Protenus, and Protected Harbor are some of the top data breach solution providers. With the growing number of data breaches, it’s imperative to have an effective solution in place, so don’t waste any more time, get protected today.

What is the most common cause of healthcare data breaches?

0

What is the most common cause of healthcare data breaches?

Patient’s medical records are a goldmine for malicious hackers—if they can get their hands on them. According to Cisco Internet Security Threat Report, healthcare is currently the most targeted industry by cybercriminals.

Health data breaches have been on the headlines for a while now. From the crippling breach of Anthem to the compromising of 10 million patient records at UCLA Health — nothing is sacred when it comes to cyberattacks these days. While the impact of security incidents might differ depending on their magnitude, it seems that poorly protected IT systems and hacking/IT incidents are often the biggest culprits in causing privacy and financial setbacks.

Healthcare data breaches are on the rise. Although many are concerned with hacking, several factors could potentially cause a significant healthcare data breach.

 

Common causes of healthcare data breaches!

Data breaches are becoming more and more common. With the rise of hacking, phishing, malware attacks, and new security regulations, all healthcare organizations need to stay proactive in protecting their data.

The most common cause of data breaches for healthcare organizations is malicious or cyber-criminal attacks. Data breaches can come from various sources, including hackers stealing protected health information (PHI) from an organization’s database, unencrypted devices, or a weak, stolen password. One of the biggest causes of healthcare data breaches is misconfigured medical devices and office equipment. Medical device security remains a major concern for organizations. Click here to know how do breaches happen and how to prevent them?

Hacking/ IT Incidents accounts for 47% of healthcare data breaches making it the #1 cause of healthcare data breaches.
(Source: Electronic Health Reporter)

hacking bar ratioPatient Data Theft: High risk
Health care industry members are all too familiar with data theft and new methods of exfiltrating information from connected medical devices such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and protected health information (PHIs). IP-enabled medical devices can be easily exploited by experienced hackers because of minimal access controls and known vulnerabilities. A hacker may then take data directly from the medical device, but since medical devices typically contain limited data, he is more likely to go to servers, data centers, or other devices on the network, like the XP workstation that is connected to the electronic medical record. Data breaches in healthcare are defined as theft and loss 32% of the time, compared to only 15% in different industries, 2nd to Hacking and IT incidents, as per Healthcare drive. With the number of high-profile breaches in healthcare over the past three years, healthcare organizations need tighter controls to mitigate this risk.

 

What is the cost to your company?

According to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach Report 2021:

  • Healthcare organizations spent an average of $161 per breached record in 2021, which is expected to increase in the future.
  • On average, it takes 329 days to identify a breach.

The reports show that the cost of data breaches has risen once again, reaching a record high since IBM first published the report 17 years ago. The average cost of a data breach increased by 10% year over year, to $4.24 million per incident and that of healthcare data breaches increased by $2 million to $9.42 million per incident in 2021. The average cost of ransomware attacks was $4.62 million per incident.

How can you avoid a data breach?

  • Back up data– Having a proper backup schedule and implementing a secure process to access the off-site data is a preliminary requirement. Confirm that your backup/recovery partner is also HIPAA compliant. Cloud hosting solutions can also be considered for better security.
  • Two factor authentication- Multi-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is a simple concept that can be implemented by companies easily. A key benefit of two-factor verification lies in its very name: it requires two variables to access an account, just as you need two keys to enter a house. The security is therefore twice as strong.
  • Safeguard data and devices- Ensure that the tools and policies for security are implemented, securing all the devices accessing your network. Remote monitoring for unauthorized access and unusual activity can opt. Limit and set proper data control and access for the devices.
  • Train and educate staff– create a policy for regular security training and practice sessions. Identifying phishing emails, ensuring password complexity, and adhering to anti-malware protocols should be a part of this training. More details

To wrap things up!

Security and compliance are among the top factors healthcare organizations consider when adopting new technologies. Many organizations didn’t or were not able to take the time to strategically align new cloud-based tools and platforms with existing security standards as they transitioned to remote work after the pandemic.
Security and privacy should be a priority when working with technology partners in healthcare. It is a trusted partner’s responsibility to ensure users’ privacy and security, having incorporated a variety of safeguards into their processes, designs, and code, as well as constructing the infrastructure to ensure careful protection of user information. Cisco, Greenway, GE Healthcare, and Protected Harbor are some of the most trusted and reliable healthcare IT solution providers who take pride in their experience of delivering solutions to healthcare and other organizations.

Is your App HIPAA Compliant? What happens if it’s not?

0
Bitcoin and crypto mining farm. Notebook working. Big data center. High tech server computers at work

Due to the pandemic, the need for telemedicine and mHealth technologies has increased and the healthcare sector has seen the historic growth in the use of medical applications. The hospitals, medical offices, and other healthcare organizations have been trying their best to keep up with the patient demand during Covid.

With the increased use of technology and medical applications, the main challenge for healthcare organizations is not the application modeling or the market focus, but data security. Third-party applications, i.e., medical applications, can access critical data such as patient information, linked patient records, due to which interoperability and cybersecurity are the major healthcare concerns. This shows a huge change in the way health services are administered. The top-of-mind concerns for the health system administrators now are the availability, affordability, and uptime of the data centers.

Strict legal requirements have been imposed on the medical industry due to the medical application boom and it is important for the technology used in medical offices to run flawlessly. This particularly implies the telemedicine tech like video conferencing software to remotely deal with the patients, VPNs, data storage, and transmission applications for CT scans, MRIs, and other electronic patient health records.

When we talk about telemedicine technology, the arrival of HIPAA, PCI DSS, and other industry regulations have created several challenges for healthcare providers. Meeting these technical obligations can be very confusing when the level of inspection of your IT performance and security has never been so high. To keep up with the world’s ever-changing privacy and security regulations and best practices, the healthcare industry needs data centers and IT compliance specialists.

Nowadays, the healthcare sector is most vulnerable to data breachesData breaches occur as the value of the data has dramatically increased while the amount of security has remained flat or decreased. A data breach happens due to credential-stealing malware, any accidental or intentional disclosure of a patient’s information by an insider, or due to lost or stolen devices.

Healthcare organizations have to maintain the security and integrity of their medical applications to avoid these data breaches.  Traditionally, the EHRs (Electronic Health Records) or PHIs (Protected Health Information) are stored on local servers. However, the most convenient yet secure way of storing such sensitive information is in data centers.

HIPAA Compliant Application Hosting:

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, set a standard to protect sensitive information related to patients. HIPAA compliance implies that the organizations that deal with Protected Health Information (PHI) must ensure that physical, network, and process security measures are in place. The HIPAA standards are implied on two types of organizations:

  • Covered Entities
  • Business Associates

The covered entities refer to organizations that collect, create and transmit PHI electronically, such as healthcare providers, clearinghouses, health insurance providers.

Business Associates refer to organizations that interact with PHIs in one way or another over the course of work that it has contracted to perform on behalf of any covered entity. The business associates include billing companies, third-party consultants, IT providers, and others of the sort.

When a medical application is hosted on a non-HIPAA compliant host, it is more prone to data breaches and security threats as HIPAA is the most effective way to secure the PHIs.

HIPAA Requirements for Data Storage:

The HIPAA requires data centers to fulfill the following requirements to be called HIPAA compliant:

  • PHIs should be encrypted and secure to prevent any unauthorized access.
  • A VPN must be established so only those with credentials can access it remotely.
  • Data centers should have disaster recovery plans ready.
  • Data should be stored in a redundant, isolated, secure storage connected to high-speed internet.
  • The data center should have a distinct web, database, and production server.
  • Hospital and patients’ records must be on a private IP address, and hosting should also be private for a particular healthcare organization.

While deciding to host applications, healthcare organizations must choose HIPAA compliant Application hosting to avoid potential data breaches. Data breaches may cause due to HIPAA violation and leads to data theft. Data breaches are costly for covered entities, and being HIPAA compliant reduces the chance of data loss or data theft.

Data Center:

data center can be defined as a physical facility (when on-premises) or cloud facility (when deployed virtually i.e., in Azure or AWS)  where organizations store their sensitive data and applications. They are mainly composed of networked computers and storage devices. Healthcare organizations should consider working with a data center to avoid any data leaks. The security of the data is then the responsibility of the data center. They take care of all the activities needed to secure and maintain data while controlling access.

For storing and managing the data on a data center, healthcare organizations need one or more hosts based on the amount of data they have. Many data centers and hosting providers provide a secure place to store data. But HIPAA compliant hosting should be the priority of these organizations.

The Importance of Data Centers for Healthcare Organizations:

With increased storage and transmission of large files such as CT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic images and electronic patient health records, the adoption of data centers has increased immensely due to their secure, robust, and standardized infrastructure. Healthcare organizations are not used to handling the amount of data generated by different machines used in the health sector. Data centers help in better interoperability and are responsible for handling the tasks related to data transmission and security.

The obvious conclusion of the above discussion is that we’re going to need many more data centers than we have now in addition to more security, IT, and compliance specialists.

While deciding to move the data and applications to a data center, the IT professionals such as Database experts and network staff at any healthcare organization must ensure that the data center complies with HIPAA Protocol.

The HIPAA IT Compliance Check goes beyond audits:

To comply with HIPAA, the data centers have to meet strict security requirements. The independent audits can help determine if HIPAA compliance safeguards are implemented in a system or not. But to validate the HIPAA compliance, audits and consultation is not enough.

While looking for colocation or hosting services, the organizations need to sign a business associate agreement. Before selecting a healthcare business associate, diligence must be performed to choose the right associate to work with. You can also check for compliance with the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements 18 (SSAE 18). Adopting SSAE 18 certification along with the HIPAA compliance audits generates redundancy in the third-party security evaluation of the data center you choose.

Many data centers provide HIPAA compliant application hosting, the best of which is the Protected Harbor:

The Protected Harbor:

The Protected Harbor is another healthcare data center specifically designed to host medical applications and data while ensuring HIPAA compliance and securing the PHIs or EHRs. The Protected Harbor hosts large data applications. The data include medical billing, insurance paperwork, patients’ information, health records, and other sensitive information. It is usually used by organizations that need to access data quickly and frequently and transmit it electronically. When talking about big data, security and data leak risks are our major concerns.

Furthermore, complying with HIPAA is not easy, so to be compliant with HIPAA and secure the data while avoiding any data leak risks, the Protected Harbor uses S2D stacks. The S2D (Storage Spaces Direct) is a technology getting more and more adoption in current IT systems. It is included in Windows Server 2016 and uses industry-standard servers with local-attached drives to create highly available and scalable software-defined storage. The Protected Harbor manages the second-largest S2D cluster behind Azure in the U.S.

The Protected Harbor offers you:

  • Enhanced Security – something about network configuration being air-gapped
  • Reduced Downtime – 99.9% uptime, built for redundancies and data backups
  • A cost-effective and secure solution
  • Highest regulatory standards
  • A specialized team of IT services experts managing day-to-day compliance procedures.
  • Real-time visibility, access, and control over the healthcare IT environment from a single platform.

Conclusion:

The health sector creates lots of data daily due to the increased use of technology and software applications. This data includes the patients’ and hospitals’ sensitive information. These organizations are not used to handling this much data, so they consider hosting it on a cloud or any offsite data center instead of hosting it in-house. For keeping the PHIs or EHRs secure, healthcare organizations have to look for a HIPAA-compliant data center.

This article describes HIPAA compliance, why it is important, and how a data center could become HIPAA compliant. It also introduces two data centers that are HIPAA compliant, Protected Harbor being the most secure and recommended.

How to Protect IoT and Devices from Hackers in 10 steps.

0

With the increase in mobile device ownership which includes smartphones and tablets, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to the internet for answers to their health concerns. While this is good for patients, it’s also an attractive target for hackers.
We have access to the health information on our smartphones, which can be useful when we need to know something quickly. However, this convenience comes at a cost—we’re not always aware of the risks that come along with using a mobile device to store and share sensitive information.

It’s been reported that less than 50 percent of Americans have taken action to protect their personal health information on a mobile device. (Source; Akasa Automation Report). The benefits of protecting this information are far too great for any person, company, or organization to ignore. It can be secured and protected by applying the following ways:

Password Authenticator

Password authentication is a method in which a user enters a unique ID and key, which is then compared to previously stored credentials. It is one of the quickest forms of security; you can set up your device to require some identification before letting someone access your phone. It can be in a Passcode, PIN, Password, Fingerprint, or 2-factor authentication can be adopted as well.

Multi-factor authentication or 2FA is an additional layer of protection that verifies that anyone attempting to access an online account are who they claim to be. The user must first provide their username and password. They will then be requested to submit another piece of information before they can receive access.

Installing and Enabling Encryption

Encryption is the process in which you convert your data into a form that cannot be accessed or decrypted without the relevant password or key. As a security protocol businesses should encrypt all the data, including the data on mobile devices with information you are receiving and sending to others.

No matter what source of communication you are using, your data remains protected from any unauthorized users and breaches. Encryption of data can be done with various methods, but you might have first to test out your phone’s encryption capabilities if it has built-in full disk encryption or AES 128/ 256 encryption. If it does not have built-in encryption, you might have to use third-party software such as dm-crypt to do the job or work with your Managed IT services to ensure mobile data encryption is included in the device’s security plan.

Use Remote Wiping/Disabling

Remote wipe is a security feature that allows a network administrator or device owner to send a command to a computer device that erases data. It is generally used to wipe data from a device that has been lost or stolen so that the data is not compromised if the device falls into the wrong hands. It can also be used to delete data from a device that has changed owners or administrators and can no longer be physically accessed.
Remote wiping is regarded as a security feature that can be used to wipe your medical device from anywhere around the world if it is lost or stolen. Patients take the medical devices with them to home for gathering and monitoring their health data and end up getting them lost. When used correctly, this feature can save all the essential information and data stored on your phone from the hands of a stranger.

Some mobile devices come with this feature in-built and can be enabled through the safety and privacy or lost device settings. You can set it up and control your phone with your desktop or laptop. Besides this, you can also use it so that if there is an excessive passcode failure, your device will be temporarily disabled to save your data from being compromised.

Install only trusted File-Sharing Applications

Some software’s are designed to share or trade your data with other phones or devices using an internet connection. Such applications can have uninterrupted access to all the files on your phone without your knowledge. Sharing data through these applications is subject to malware, hacking, and loss of sensitive information. Therefore make sure to share files through hardline connections only or use only trusted apps that are HIPAA compliant file-sharing platforms.

Therefore, you should pay close attention to the software that has permission to access your data. If you don’t see the need for an application or find it suspicious, disabling or uninstalling such applications reduces your risk of leaking personal information.

Use a Firewall

You can intercept all the unnecessary incoming and outgoing attempts by simply introducing a personal firewall to your connection. It can block any malicious attacks and only allows connections that fulfill the set criteria. For healthcare businesses, just a simple firewall on your system won’t work rather work building remote management of firewall policies into the devices themselves. Along with firewall activity logging and disabling unnecessary non-healthcare IT ports.

If your device has a built-in firewall, you should activate it as soon as possible, and if you are having trouble finding it, you can always find a solution on the internet. But in case it doesn’t, you can also download third-party software that can do this job.

Using Security Software

Security software is designed to protect your healthcare device from any malicious software or files; this includes viruses, malware, and spam. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals use tablets for patient info all the time. You can increase the security level of your device by installing good security software such as PC doctor and mdsguard and keeping it up to date.

This type of software comes in various forms, each having its designated role, such as anti-theft, anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall solutions, etc.

Keep Your Security Software Up to Date

Security risks and threats such as viruses and malware are changing their codes hastily. To keep up with these changes, keep all of your security software up to date so that they are ready to tackle any threat that comes their way.

Research Mobile Applications Before Downloading

There is a plethora of excellent health apps and technology available today. Third-party apps, on the other hand, come with third-party code flaws. When you integrate that product into your system, the entire network is put in danger. Ascertain that the app’s security meets FDA and HIPPA requirements. Any mobile application has the capability of compromising your data to the wrong hands. They can copy your contacts, get information about your address, passwords, or any other private data without you ever knowing about it.

Therefore, whenever you download an application for your phone, make sure that you read all the specifications and required permissions first. You can install the application only after you completely understand it. Also, TEST TEST TEST. Avoid having to respond to breaches and device failures in the field by detecting security flaws during development and testing.

Maintain Physical Control

Another method to secure your data is to remain in physical control of your device at all times. A small and portable mobile phone has a greater risk of being lost or stolen, which can easily result in your data being compromised in the wrong hands.

On the other hand, not letting other people use your device, locking your device when not in use, and physically securing it can exponentially increase your security and save your device from any external breach or tempering.

Secure Your Information on Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi connections are the hub of public gathering, and this means that there are loads of data being transferred from mobile devices and the internet connection points. The problem with these connections is that they don’t have any security, and your data can be quickly interrupted while being transferred.=

It is why you should never opt to use them in the first place. But in case of an emergency where you don’t have any choice, you should have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) software on your phone that can encrypt all of your data while passing through the internet connection.

Conclusion

There’s no easy answer to this question. It’s always a good idea to be careful about what you share with others, but that doesn’t help when your device is already infected with malware.

To summarize, be smart when using health apps on your mobile device. Consider how much valuable information you may be inadvertently giving away. Also, remember to be proactive each time you download an app and read through the terms and conditions of service carefully.

When it comes to protecting your health information on a mobile device, the first thing you should do is evaluate what apps and data you need access to. You can also use various solutions that exist today such as Protected Harbor’s Protected phones with a secure remote wipe system and set strong passwords for every app that stores sensitive health information. Protected harbor with its experienced team and state of art technologies has been servicing the healthcare industry, contact us now to know how we do it.

HIPAA IT Compliance

0
Vietnamese female doctor entering information in file on computer

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is more important than ever to today’s healthcare industry. HIPAA compliance must be ensured to safeguard private and sensitive patient data by the Hospitals, insurance companies, and healthcare providers.

What is HIPAA Compliance?

The HIPAA is a federal law established to protect the privacy of health information created or maintained by healthcare providers. It made national standards for how medical information should be handled, and it also includes other provisions that apply to employers and healthcare providers.
The main goal of HIPAA is to ensure patient data remains private, secure, and confidential at all times. Its impact has been significant, including cybersecurity rules for storing and transmitting data.

To comply with HIPPA and avoid penalties, organizations that manage PHI must follow a stringent set of rules and security measures. Those subject to the HIPAA compliance mandates are typically called covered entities or business associates. In the healthcare industry, covered entities are those who provide treatment, accept payment, or perform clinical operations. Business associates are organizations that have access to PHI for payment, treatment, or operation purposes. Many companies, subcontractors, and public institutions that handle PHI must meet HIPAA compliance standards.
HIPAA regulations are established under HHS and enforced by the OCR.

Why is it Important for the Healthcare Industry?

With the advancement in technologies, hackers are always on the lookout for a breach, and HIPAA compliance helps protect against data breaches, which can be costly because they can lead to lawsuits or fines. The act is essential for the healthcare industry because the healthcare industry is now the biggest target for hackers. By the end of 2021, healthcare companies lost 6 trillion dollars in security breaches, and this risk is ever-growing.

Under the HIPAA privacy rule, covered entities and their business associates must protect all individually identifiable health information – commonly referred to as protected health information (PHI). This Privacy Rule ensures that PHI is protected, but it also allows the flow of information between providers who need to use the data for the best patient care. Hence, the Security Rule comes in.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered entities to protect electronically protected health information (ePHI) by maintaining reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards, which include:

  • Securing the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information (ePHI);
  • Identifying, assessing, and responding to reasonably anticipated threats to the integrity or security of the information;
  • To protect the confidential information from reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures; and
  • Ensuring workforce compliance.

The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates to notify upon discovering a breach or compromise of protected health information. Under HITECH Act section 13407, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implements and enforces breach notification provisions for vendors of personal health records and their third-party service providers.

In accordance with the Omnibus Rule, any improper use or disclosure of personal health information should trigger official notification requirements unless the company conducts a risk analysis and concludes that no breach occurred.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

In most cases, you can avoid any HIPAA-related fines, fees, or penalties if you take the proper steps. Yet you need to know the penalties, how they work, and the potential repercussions. A three-tiered system of fines and penalties can be imposed for intentional or unintentional breaches of PHI.

  • Tier 1 violation: Occurs when the covered entity is unaware of the violation and cannot prevent it realistically. A reasonable effort had been made to safeguard PHI. A maximum fine of $50,000 may be assessed, with $100 per violation minimum.
  • Tier 2 violation: Despite being aware of the violation, the entity could not avoid it. The violations could not have been prevented by reasonable care. There is a $1,000 fine per violation up to $50,000.
  • Tier 3 violation: HIPAA rules were flagged as being “willfully neglected” due to the violation. Covered entities must take steps to correct the violation. $10,000 minimum fine up to $50,000 maximum.
  • Tier 4 violation: An egregious example of willful neglect, as defined by HIPAA. There have been no attempts by the covered entity to correct the violation. $50,000 per violation is the minimum fine.

Making sure that there are no violations from the start is the key to avoiding fines and penalties. Make sure you know what Reasonable Care means in your particular case and that your PHI is protected accordingly. It’s also essential to be updated with any changes in the regulations. HHS CSC announced significant changes in its Newsroom and HIPAA Journal in 2021. The changes are mostly related to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Please visit either the HHS CSC Newsroom or HIPAA Journal for more information

Taking Steps Toward Healthcare IT Compliance

HIPAA was created to ensure that patient and customer PHI stays private. The measures that HIPAA requires are meant to provide a means for a business, company, or healthcare organization to protect healthcare data. While HIPAA compliance may seem overwhelming, you can get there by taking a step-by-step approach.

Currently, there is no guidance regarding what should be included in a HIPAA risk assessment. IT providers can help organizations manage the daily management and compliance requirements of HIPAA by guiding the objectives. The HIPAA IT compliance requirement does not apply as a one-time task but is a continuous process that ensures continued compliance.

HIPAA compliance is an expensive and time-consuming process. Your organization’s data security is at risk, there are many security vulnerabilities, and you’re having trouble staying on top of all the changes.

The consequences of a data breach can be catastrophic for your business. There are heavy fines, legal penalties, and potential lawsuits if you don’t stay compliant with HIPAA.

An experienced, outside partner can help you see the bigger picture. Protected Harbor has the best practice knowledge on securing managed file transfers, HIPAA-compliant emails, data management, and security. We make sure your data is safe by using robust auditing and encryption technology that meets or exceeds HIPAA requirements for healthcare organizations.

APPLICATIONS

HOT NEWS

How to Protect IoT and Devices from Hackers in 10 steps.

0
With the increase in mobile device ownership which includes smartphones and tablets, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to the...