Be Alert: Phishing Attacks

By Art Gross, President and CEO, HIPAA Secure Now!
Twitter: @HIPAASecureNow
Read other articles by this author

Healthcare businesses are increasingly reliant on technology to manage patient information, conduct financial transactions, and communicate with staff and patients. While technology has many benefits, it also presents significant risks, including the threat of cyberattacks. One of the most common types of cyberattacks is phishing when an attacker impersonates a trusted individual or entity and tricks the victim into divulging sensitive information.

Why are healthcare businesses targeted?

Healthcare businesses are a prime target for cybercriminals due to the sensitive nature of the information they hold. Medical records, insurance information, and payment details are all valuable commodities on the black market or dark web. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to steal this information. In addition to financial gain, hackers may also target healthcare businesses to disrupt operations with the hope of a paid ransom.

Common Types of Phishing Emails

Phishing emails come in many different forms, but some common examples include the following:

  • Emails that appear to be from a trusted source, such as a bank, government agency, or other healthcare organization
  • Emails that request sensitive information, such as login credentials, social security numbers, or payment details
  • Emails that contain links or attachments that, when clicked, install malware on the victim’s computer

Tips for Avoiding Phishing Scams

To protect your business from phishing scams, follow these tips:

  1. Train Your Staff: Educate your staff on how to recognize phishing emails and what to do if they receive one. Provide examples of common phishing scams and explain the risks associated with falling prey to these attacks.
  2. Verify Requests for Information: Be wary of requests for sensitive information, especially if they come from an unexpected source. If you receive a request for sensitive information, verify the request by calling the sender directly.
  3. Use Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of identification in addition to a password. This can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  4. Keep Software Up to Date: Make sure all software, including operating systems and applications, are updated with the latest security patches. Cybercriminals often target vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems.
  5. Use Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software: Install antivirus and anti-malware software on all devices used in your business. This can help detect and prevent malware infections before they cause damage.

This article was originally published on HIPAA Secure Now! and is republished here with permission.