Healthcare ransomware attacks have become a pressing issue in healthcare. So, here are some tips that can help you prevent these attacks from affecting your organization:
Train Employees On Phishing And Data Risks
Employees must be trained to identify phishing attacks and report them to IT. Employees should be taught what a ‘typical’ phishing email looks like, with the goal being to help them recognize the many different ways in which a cybercriminal may try to trick them into clicking on an attachment or link.
The most common types of phishing attacks include:
- Forged email addresses that appear similar but aren’t actually from your organization’s domain name
- Messages requesting personal information that employees shouldn’t give out without first verifying its validity through another method (e.g., an authenticated phone call or text message).
To ensure proper training, healthcare organizations should use practices that provide examples of real-life scenarios designed around different industries’ needs, including healthcare.
Conduct Vulnerability Assessments
In order to prevent ransomware attacks, you need to understand your vulnerabilities. A vulnerability assessment can help you identify and address any gaps in your cybersecurity. It’s important for healthcare organizations to conduct periodic vulnerability assessments because they provide an opportunity for you to learn about potential weaknesses in your security from a third party or your own team.
If you have an internal team conducting the assessment, make sure that the team has experience performing such assessments and understands how best practices should be followed when reviewing findings with senior leadership. However, for most health facilities, it’s often necessary to hire a specialized service such as Truenorth ITG and others to diagnose and take care of the specific threats in the industry.
Here are some considerations when conducting a vulnerability assessment:
Choose an external third party who specializes in this type of work so that their findings are objective and unbiased
- Ask if they’ll provide recommendations or list potential issues; many providers charge more than others but offer less value because they don’t offer concrete steps on how to address identified issues
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication For Email, Remote Systems, And Everywhere Else
Multi-factor authentication is a security method that requires two or more methods of authentication before granting access to a system. This may include using both password and fingerprint or other methods.
The vast majority of healthcare organizations don’t currently use multi-factor authentication for email or remote systems. That means they have no standard way to enforce stronger passwords and prevent man-in-the-middle attacks on their network connections.
This then leaves a lot of healthcare organizations vulnerable to attacks once someone gains access to their one password. By needing two or more authentication methods, multi-factor authentication methods can help minimize your probability of being hacked.
Encrypt Computers And Data
Encryption is a critical part of any cybersecurity strategy. It can be used to protect data at rest or data in transit, also known as when you’re transmitting information across a network. Data at rest refers to data stored on a computer or server while data in transit refers to the same thing—but while it’s being transmitted over the internet.
In either case, encryption scrambles sensitive information so that it’s unreadable if someone tries to access it without knowing the correct key or password. This means that even if someone steals your laptop and tries accessing its contents from another machine, they won’t be able to read anything without first decrypting it with a special file decryption tool (or by guessing/cracking your password).
Backup Critical Data
Backing up your data is the most important step in preventing a ransomware attack. The most common way to back up data is on an external hard drive or network storage system. You can also look into cloud-based solutions that allow you to offload your backups from a local server, which reduces the risk of losing critical files in case of a cyberattack.
However, if you choose to back up through these methods, it’s important that you test those backups periodically so that you know they work when needed. Backups should be tested by restoring them at least once every few months to ensure they’re still capable of being used when necessary.
Require Strong Passwords
Passwords are one of the first lines of defense against identity theft, and they’re important to keep strong. Even if you think your passwords are secure now, there’s no guarantee that the same password won’t be compromised in the future. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, hackers could try it on other sites too.
To prevent this type of attack:
- Use a password manager to generate random passwords for each account and automatically log you into them when needed. This way, even if hackers compromise one account directly—say, by installing malware on your computer—they’ll still not be able to access others without knowing your unique login credentials for each site individually.
- Use a different password for each login where possible (e.g., personal email vs. business email vs. social media accounts). The less overlap between websites with sensitive information stored in them, the better.
Ransomware attacks are becoming more common, and healthcare organizations should be prepared to respond. By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to ransomware and other cyber threats.