You use password-protected applications for everything from banking and financial management to planning vacations and socializing. In the workplace, sign-in credentials connect you and your employees to business applications and online services like payroll processing, appointment scheduling, invoicing, and every other confidential function of your business.
We recently used Presbyterian Health Services potential breach of protected health information (ePHI) as a case study in why employee behavior and training are key elements of security and compliance.
Not even a month later, and here we go again.
Last week, Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, WA issued a formal notice of a potential electronic protected health information (ePHI) breach. Like Presbyterian Health Services, this potential breach was the result of a phishing email. In this case, the attackers initiated a ransomware attack holding the organization’s medical records hostage and demanding a $1 million ransom to release the key to de-encrypt their data.
Grays Harbor seemed to have done everything right to prepare for this type of incident. They have an IT department, anti-virus solution, data backups, and even took out a $1 million cyber insurance policy.
Even though they seem to have followed the playbook, there are some lessons to be learned from this incident.
I'm currently re-watching The Office (US) for what feels like the 100th time. This time, I realized that some parts have a whole new meaning now that I work for an IT company that provides tech support to businesses like the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
In this clip from Season 7, Episode 9, "WHUPF.com," Jim tries to reset the server after a power outage causes it to go down.
He's stuck and The Office can't do any work since he doesn't know the password to sign into the server. This causes Michael to recall all of The Office's former IT guys to determine who originally set up the server.
As Michael thinks through the list of IT guys backward from the most current by the nicknames he gave them, "Glasses, Turban, Ear Hair, Fatty 3, Shorts, Fatty 2, Lozenge, and Fatso," Kevin remembers that 'Lozenge' set up the server eight years ago. Michael recalls that whatever the password was made him laugh when he heard it but, "Pam got really offended." Jim ultimately enters Kevin's suggestion of "big boobz," based on Michael's clues. The password is accepted, the server is reset, and Dunder Mifflin lives on to sell paper another day.
On June 6, 2019, Presbyterian Health Services, a health care system and health care provider in New Mexico, discovered a potential breach of protected health information (ePHI).
You might assume that a hacker breached their firewall or snuck into their network undetected. That was not the case. The breach occurred because well-intentioned employees fell victim to a phishing email.
Do you have computers in your business operating on Windows 7?
Do you feel like you just upgraded away from Windows XP?
If that’s the case, you were most likely utilizing Windows XP beyond its April 8, 2014 end of life date and managed just fine without upgrading immediately. So, it makes sense that you are probably not too concerned about upgrading away from Windows 7 any time soon.
You survived the last end of life date just fine, and you’ll get through this one too, right?
National headlines about ransomware attacks crippling Baltimore City and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport might leave smaller businesses thinking that governments and large corporations are the only entities facing a real threat of attack.
However, threats against businesses of all sizes have been on the rise. Malwarebytes Labs issued a Cyber Crime Tactics and Techniques 2019 Q1 Report stating that cyberattacks on businesses in general have increased 235% in the past year. Ransomware specifically is gaining rapid momentum in Q1 2019 with a 195% increase in ransomware attacks on businesses from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019.
It happens quite often – someone points out to you that they’ve received a strange email from this person or that person, or maybe even you. Of course, you don’t remember sending that email and why would you include the need to pay an invoice in it for a co-worker?
Spam and spoofed emails are a common way hackers and malicious programs penetrate business networks, and are nearly impossible to prevent on a global basis for a given network. However, there are precautions that significantly decrease the volume of malicious emails and educate users on how to handle those that make their way into their inboxes.
Cyber threats are a major risk to every business of every size. Risks associated with viruses, ransomware, and identity theft can cost you lost revenue, loss of reputation, and in many cases even put you out of business.
In today’s world, it’s not a matter of IF a business will experience a cyber threat but WHEN, so all businesses must be prepared.
Specific security requirements vary based on the size and scope of your business, nature of your work, and security compliance regulations. However, a good, multi-layered security approach for all businesses starts with threat prevention, but most important to protecting your business, is built on the foundation of a solid disaster recovery system.
This approach should include the following components.