How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT and Patient Record Security

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT banner

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT and Patient Record Security?

The apex court of the US recently overturned Roe v. Wade(1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey(1992) in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org (2022). The court returned the responsibility for controlling abortion to the individual states after concluding that the US Constitution does not provide a right to abortion.

For healthcare organizations countrywide, the seismic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the Supreme Court has caused upheaval and confusion regarding patient privacy issues and providers’ obligations for data protection.

If you are a healthcare provider, the Dobbs ruling will not impact your ability to use electronic health records or to communicate and share that information with other providers. This ruling only applies to patient information, not in an “active clinical setting,” Any documents transmitted outside of these settings must still be protected health information under HIPAA.

 

Question of Vulnerability of Reproductive Health after the Decision

In addition to the decision’s clear systemic ramifications, Dobbs has presented several difficulties for pharmacies and prompted concerns about adhering to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations.

Many reproductive health proponents of HHC have expressed concerns about protecting reproductive health information after last month’s decision. This includes information saved in period tracking apps, text messages, web search history, and other places.

Modern Healthcare fears using the information to prosecute those who seek an abortion or even medical attention after a miscarriage and those who help them. Right now, HIPAA only protects the privacy of health information gathered by covered entities, such as health plans, clearinghouses for health information, and healthcare providers. Data collected by electronic devices and outside apps or organizations are not covered.

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT middleResponse of Organizations

In the wake of the decision, several companies have taken steps to preserve and prevent using their users’ health data, particularly those about reproductive care. For example, Google announced that it would remove the location information if its search engine determined that a user visited an abortion clinic or another medical facility.

According to Planned Parenthood, a breach of protected health information has not occurred. It deleted marketing trackers from its search sites for abortions that shared data with third-party companies out of caution. It also mentioned that it offers a different appointment scheduling and confirmation tool that is, according to it, HIPAA-compliant.

Similarly, Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties organization, advised users to pay attention to privacy settings on their services, switch off location services on apps that don’t need them, and utilize encrypted messaging services to protect their electronic health data.

Some applications for tracking periods have also made efforts to reassure their users that their health information is safe and secure. As an illustration, Flo said it is creating an “anonymous mode” that will let users delete their names, email addresses, and other unique identifiers from their profiles.

 

Response of the Government

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published guidance on June 29, 2022, outlining how HIPAA constricts disclosures by covered entities and business associates to law enforcement agencies without a court order or other legal mandate.

In light of new state laws forbidding abortion, the guideline offers valuable insight into how OCR may employ HIPAA enforcement to prevent illegal disclosures of protected health information (PHI) to law enforcement personnel.

OCR makes it plain that it wants to protect the privacy of people getting abortions and other reproductive health care. According to OCR, regulations that forbid specific conduct do not authorize the sharing of Personal Health Information(PHI) concerning an individual and such prohibited behavior. Instead, all other requirements in the HIPAA Privacy Rule must be followed, and the law must expressly require such disclosure or disclosure following a legally recognized process. The guidance states that disclosure is only allowed without causing a HIPAA breach.

However, depending on the state, laws that permit criminal or civil action against

  • Someone who seeks an abortion
  • Someone who performs an abortion,
  • Someone who provides the means for an abortion may be used as the justification for revealing PHI for law enforcement purposes, and in states where relevant laws are in force, disclosures may be allowed.

Therefore, HIPAA may not offer the amount of protection against disclosure of PHI that may be inferred based on OCR’s recommendations in light of new state laws that forbid particular conduct by third parties.

To avoid unauthorized disclosure of PHI and HIPAA violations, healthcare organizations should caution their employees and providers not to conflate mandatory reporting laws with state laws that forbid abortion. They should also remind them that legal counsel should review any mandatory reporting. Otherwise, there is a chance of breaking federal or state laws requiring secrecy.

In a nutshell, OCR’s guidance reminds consumers that HIPAA protections do not apply to apps used on personal devices like smartphones that are not directly offered by a Covered Entity or its Business Associate. This covers the numerous applications that provide healthcare-related services but are not offered by Covered Entities, such as period trackers.

However, disclosures needed by law or for law enforcement purposes may apply to Covered Entities and their Business Associates. Additionally, HIPAA does not apply to cell phone service providers, and HIPAA generally does not protect communications made using a mobile device, including calls, messages, and emails. Due to these factors, it will be crucial for people to decide whether and how to communicate with providers electronically for tasks like scheduling appointments.

If privacy is an issue, people should also limit the amount of personal information shared through mobile devices, including apps that might offer health-related services but are not provided through Covered Entities.

 

Final Words

Regulations concerning data privacy will continue to change in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. Legal counsel should be consulted before pharmaceutical shops or businesses disclose PHI to stay current on the legal climate and guidelines. Reproductive health information will remain a significant concern for patients and application users.

The healthcare industry and application developers should consider updating their online privacy policies to address potential patient and user privacy concerns. Law enforcement agencies should not overstate the protections provided under HIPAA and other state privacy laws against disclosing health information.

With a vision to make the world a healthier place, Protected Harbor’s products are designed to secure and protect the health information of patients and providers in the hospital and clinical environments.

We offer tailored solutions to protect healthcare organizations against current and future cyber threats. Our offerings include network security, endpoint protection, remote monitoring and management, and other cybersecurity services. We have a team of certified engineers who are experts in their fields. A continuous learning and improvement culture helps us stay updated with evolving technological trends and best practices. We are focused on improving the health and wellness of our customers and their customers, which we accomplish by building trust, reliability, and transparency in every aspect of our service.

We are working to protect millions of Americans’ health information and critical data. Contact us today for a free security risk assessment.

How can Schools Increase Security to Protect Private Student Records

Security-Practices-to-Protect-Private-Student-Records Banner

How can Schools Increase Security to Protect Private Student Records?

Schools handle numerous sensitive pieces of information about students and their families. Administrators must actively secure the data from unlawful disclosure by following laws, regulations, and ethical commitments.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which gives kids control over their educational data, is one of the statutes that the U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to upholding to protect students’ privacy. Schools, faculty, and employees must follow regulations governing internet safety and the protection of student data.

Data on students can easily be accessed thanks to technology. All student data must be strictly confidential to safeguard students’ rights, security, and dignity. Federal and state laws and regulations may have requirements governing the kinds of security measures that must be implemented concerning this data, but they might not list specific actions.

Unluckily, not all school districts might offer a more thorough analysis of those rules and regulations. As a result, particular precautions must be taken when protecting student data.

 

What is Student Data Privacy?

Student Data Privacy is a term used to describe the protection of student data, which can be anything from academic records to health information.

It aims to ensure that only authorized parties have access to student data and that it is used for the purpose for which it was collected.

State and federal governments enforce Student Data Privacy laws. The U.S. Department of Education has policies regarding student data privacy, and each state has its regulations.

 

Why is Student Privacy Important for Schools?

A school’s policy on student privacy should include information about what can and cannot be recorded, how often cameras will be used, and how long data will be stored. Schools should also provide students with clear information about exercising their rights under the law when school officials or third parties violate their privacy.

Students who feel their privacy has been violated should have an avenue for recourse available to them through their school’s disciplinary process.

Because there are ethical and legal limitations on the acquisition, use, distribution, and treatment of student data, protecting student privacy is crucial. Press the Tab to write more…

  • Make tailored adverts or email scam contact lists.
  • Find the emails and other contact details of your family members.
  • Grade adjustment for a student
  • View private information that should be kept confidential, including prescription medicines and learning and physical problems

Therefore, protecting student privacy is essential to averting issues like these.

 

Security Practices to Protect Private Student Records Middle7 Security Practices to Protect Private Student Records

Let’s look at some strategies schools can do to safeguard students’ privacy better.

 

1.    Purge Unnecessary Student Records

Purge unnecessary student records from your system so hackers cannot access these accounts. This is important because if hackers manage to break into your network and steal data from student accounts, there is no way for you to know who accessed it or for what purpose.

 

2.    Establish Transparency with Laws and Guidelines

Another thing that schools can do is establish transparency with laws and guidelines. These rules vary from state to state but often include policies for how long students’ records can be kept and what they can be used for after graduating high school or moving away from their home state.

This type of transparency will help ensure that students’ rights are being protected and help clarify terminology when discussing matters with parents or teachers.

 

3.    Choose Who can Access the Data

Yes, in daily life, your data must be protected, but what would happen if you had an electrical problem, perhaps in the thick of an emergency? Do you have access to the files and registers of every student?

You can purchase an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit, allowing you to continue working or accessing your files while on the premises. Alternatively, you might want to think about how to go outside the building to access your records.

 

4.    Encrypt Data

Likely, schools will still need to keep some sensitive information about children and their parents after completing minimization and cleansing efforts. Careful security should be maintained for those records using a combination of technical and administrative safeguards.

Adopting robust encryption technology to safeguard the information that is either at rest saved on a server or device or in transit, being transferred over a network, is the most significant technical control schools can apply to information. Schools should recognize equipment that houses sensitive data and implement encryption at the file and disc levels.

 

5.    Train Your Staff

Accessing student data comes with much responsibility. A school system cannot rely on the fact that staff workers always know how to handle this information in specific ways. Employees must understand how to access information safely, how to use a breach reporting system, and what to do in the event of a breach.

 

6.    Carefully Manage Data

You ought to be aware of the information that each individual or company has access to. If you handle the data correctly, you can ensure that it is treated correctly. Publishers of textbooks, for instance, do not require student addresses or phone numbers.

The precise forms of data that are required must be synchronized. Automated bi-directional data sharing is necessary for many contemporary learning management systems and can give you finer control over the data you send.

 

7.    Create a Student Data Policy

Make a plan to regularly assess the organization’s data privacy requirements since data privacy is a never-ending process. Make sure the schedule is consistently updated. Learn the fundamentals of the data gathering, storage, and sharing procedures used by your company first.

Create procedures for handling any data produced by the Internet of Things gadgets. There are more gadgets, which means there are more online targets. Preventive actions can be helpful, such as limiting bandwidth access and ensuring that devices are correctly patched and segmented.

 

Conclusion

Schools must use discretion and prudence to prevent inappropriate use of student and family information. Several basic security procedures can help educational institutions maintain public trust.

As such, a college or university must follow specific federal and state laws when handling student information. However, these laws can be tricky, especially when sensitively handling student information. For instance, a school may be required to follow specific privacy laws like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when handling student information. However, there are particular ways you can work with a school to help ensure that their student information is dealt with in a manner that complies with FERPA laws. One way to do this is to work with a cybersecurity provider expert to protect student records.

Employing a professional IT solution, such as Protected Harbor, is the best way to handle your data digitally, monitor it, and safeguard student privacy. Rated by Goodfirms as the top cybersecurity and cloud service providers in the US, we have been protecting data for all industries, including schools, for the last two decades.

From anti-malware protection, ransomware protection, and identity and access management to threat detection and response, we have you covered. Our 24×7 tech team and proactive monitoring redefine security. Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity audit.

Why do Cyber-attacks Occur?

Why do Cyber-attacks Occur?

As the digital world continues to grow, so do cyber threats. Cyber-attack is on the rise, and businesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly aware of the risk of a cyber-attack. Whether operating in a small business or managing enterprise IT systems, it’s essential to understand why cyber-attacks occur and how you can protect your organization from them. To achieve optimal cybersecurity and reduce risk from cyber-attack, businesses need to understand their threat level and know how attackers might infiltrate their systems. This article will explain why cyber-attack occur and what you can do as an individual or business owner to prevent them from happening again.

We are excited to welcome you to another video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna. We focus on important topics in today’s threat landscape, discuss best practices, and offer advice on staying safe and secure online. Today’s video will discuss cybersecurity, how cyber-attacks occur, and how to protect yourself against these attacks. Stay tuned.

 

What is a Cyber-attack?

A cyber-attack is any attempt to breach the defenses of a computer system. It’s a broad term describing malicious activity toward an organization’s network and data. A cyber-attack can be a denial-of-service attack, ransomware attack, phishing attack, or any other malicious activity. These types of attacks can cause damage to data and systems and can disrupt or shut down a business entirely. To protect your organization, it’s important to understand why cyber-attack occur and how to prevent them from happening again.

 

Why do Cyber-attacks Occur?

There are multiple reasons why cyber-attack occur. They can be carried out by curious teenagers, state-sponsored hackers, or cybercriminals. All of these scenarios pose serious threats to businesses of all sizes. Cyber-attacks occur in three ways:

  1. Theft of Information – Cybercriminals may want to steal your valuable information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other sensitive data.
  2. Damage to Systems – Hackers might want to damage your systems by deleting information, corrupting files, or shutting down your systems.
  3. Extortion – If hackers have taken your systems hostage, they might demand ransom in exchange for releasing them.

 

Why Are Cyber-attacks So Successful?

There are a few reasons why cyber-attacks are so successful. First, it’s hard to identify an attack in real time. It’s difficult to know if your systems are under attack because it happens outside your network.  Another reason why cyber-attacks are so successful is that it’s hard to predict who will be targeted next. Economies of scale have made developing and executing large-scale cyber-attack more economically viable.

 

How to Protect Your Organization from Cyber-attacks?

Implementing a solid cybersecurity plan is the best way to protect your organization from cyber-attack. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments, identifying vulnerabilities in your systems, and implementing best practices for your employees.

Conduct a Risk Assessment – Before implementing a cybersecurity plan, you must perform a thorough risk assessment. This involves identifying your organization’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Identify Vulnerabilities- After identifying your organization’s weaknesses, you can determine where you’re most vulnerable. Common vulnerabilities include being attacked online, having unsecured devices on your network, or being hacked through a mobile app.

Implement Best Practices – Once you’ve identified your vulnerabilities, you can implement best practices. For example, you can use two-factor authentication on your online accounts or install antivirus software on your computers.

 

Final Words

Whether you’re operating in a small business or managing enterprise IT systems, it’s important to understand why cyber-attacks occur and how you can protect your organization from them.

With a partner like Protected Harbor on your side, you can rest assured that your business is protected against any threat. Our solid cybersecurity plans are flexible enough to accommodate changes in the risk environment and ever-evolving threats. Therefore, partnering with a company that offers a customized cybersecurity solution is important.

Contact our expert today to receive a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that keeps your company safe.

DIY Cybersecurity Solutions for Small Businesses

The-8-Best-Tips-DIY-Cybersecurity-Solutions-for-Small-Businesses-banner

DIY Cybersecurity Solutions for Small Businesses: The 8 Best Tips

Cyberattacks are increasing by the minute; not even small businesses are considered safe anymore. However, most hackers aren’t looking to steal money or valuables. Instead, they’re looking for information that can be used against the company for future attacks. Cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously regardless of your business size, especially in today’s world, where employees have access to your systems at home and in the office.

We are all about supporting businesses and want to help those in need, specifically those who either don’t have a cybersecurity partner or can’t afford one. If you want to try and maintain your cybersecurity on your own, here are eight DIY cybersecurity solutions for small businesses that may help keep your operations safe without spending much money or time on them.

 

Malwarebytes

There are two options available regarding this software: a free version and a paid version. The free version of this anti-malware tool will scan your system and remove the most common threats. The paid version of this tool includes a real-time scanner that detects malware before it can infect your computer.

CryptoPrevent

Many enterprises and individuals are turning to tools like CryptoPrevent to help protect themselves. CryptoPrevent is a tool that blocks ransomware before it can do real damage. It also has a self-defense mode that prevents the attack from spreading.

Macrium Reflect

It’s a powerful tool that allows you to create backups of your entire computer system. You can even schedule your backups regularly. It’s no wonder why this tool is a favorite among enterprises as a safe backup option.

Windows Defender

The Defender antivirus program is built into Windows and is one of the most powerful and reliable antivirus tools. It has several excellent features that protect your computer against viruses and malware and regularly scan for issues.

 

The-8-Best-Tips-DIY-Cybersecurity-Solutions-for-Small-Businesses-middleSpamHero

Protecting your computer from spam is critical to keeping your systems safe. Fortunately, there are many options available to do this. The most popular is SpamHero, an easy-to-use interface that prevents unwanted emails from being sent to your computer.

Duo 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)

This app provides an easy-to-use access 2FA solution and is perfect for ensuring your organization’s safety. Multi-factor authentication is the most recommended security practice by experts, and Duo 2FA makes it simple.

Snort

Snort is a powerful open-source Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) and Network Intrusion Prevention System (NIPS) that you can use on your computer and network to keep hackers out.

Squid

Squid ranks highly on the list of best free software to protect businesses from online threats like spyware, ransomware, and phishing.

 

Conclusion

We have to face the facts; no business nowadays is safe from the wrath of cybercriminals. Though these DIY solutions are helpful, they are only temporary. More advanced cybersecurity will be needed to protect your organization.

There are many ways to stay safe online but starting with awareness is essential.

You can check out our latest eBook, The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs, for more information on how to keep your business safe from ransomware attacks. Also, check out our Protected Harbor website, where we keep a regularly updated blog filled with cybersecurity advice. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any news or events!

If you’re interested in receiving a free cybersecurity assessment, fill out our form and take the next step to secure your business today.

The Cybersecurity Minute: What is Cybersecurity?

The Cybersecurity Minute: What is Cybersecurity?

Everyone is talking about cybersecurity, but what does that mean? In simple words, Cybersecurity is the security of computers, networks, and software from attackers. It’s a combination of both technology and process. In today’s high-tech world, there are more ways than ever for someone to gain access to sensitive data. Hackers are looking to exploit any weaknesses in your digital access points.

As businesses become more dependent on computers, internet connectivity, and cloud storage platforms – cybercriminals grow more interested in acquiring information that can be used for financial gain or identity theft.

Welcome to another video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna, the Cybersecurity series. You must have heard the term Cybersecurity but what does it mean, and why it’s essential for your business? Keep watching the video, and don’t forget to download “The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs Ebook” below.

 

What Should You Know About Cybersecurity?

The word cybersecurity is a combination of both security and computers. It protects systems and networks from attacks, damage, or disruption. Cyberattacks are a real threat from many sources, including malicious software, cybercriminals, and even nation-states.

Due to the nature of the Internet, it’s hard to know who might be behind an attack. The key to protecting data and networks is a combination of both technology and process. Organizations must have security protocols to protect their systems and data. Employees must also understand how to protect themselves while working with these systems.

 

Protect your Organization from Cyber Threats

The best way to secure your organization against cyber threats is to have a plan. You should have policies and procedures in place to secure all systems, data, and employees. This plan will require employees to follow safe practices and be diligent about securing their devices.

  • Employees should follow these best practices:
  • Install security and patch software on all devices.
  • Use multi-factor authentication for all accounts.
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails and other messages.
  • Protect login information, and don’t share it with anyone.
  • Use strong passwords that include letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Delete sensitive emails as soon as they are no longer needed.
  • Regularly scan for breaches and vulnerabilities.
  • Report any suspicious activity to IT.
  • Update software and operating systems as soon as new versions are available.

These eight DIY cybersecurity solutions for small enterprises help keep your operations secure without costing a lot of money or time if you wish to try to maintain your cybersecurity on your own. Download the infographic here.

 

Conclusion

As we have seen recently, cyber-attacks have become widespread and dangerous. So every business needs to protect itself from these attacks. Moreover, cybersecurity is the most important thing for every business these days. If a business is hacked, it can cause much damage to the company. A successful cyber-attack can lead to data theft, financial loss, and reputational damage. Therefore, it is essential to protect your business from cyber threats.

Protected Harbor provides a safer environment for your business data by securing the entire data lifecycle. A robust security plan by us can prevent all types of cyber-attacks from protecting your business data. It has a host of features that make data security management a lot easier. Some critical elements of the Protected Harbor security plan are: multi-tenant architecture, deployment flexibility, on-demand scaling, works with any cloud provider, secure data transfer, data privacy, regulatory compliance, data backup and disaster recovery, workflow management, and easy integration with other tools.

Still trying to understand the best cybersecurity services? Protected Harbor was rated the top cybersecurity and cloud service provider in the US by Goodfirms. Contact our expert today and get a free cybersecurity audit.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats

The-Most-Common-SMB-Cybersecurity-Threats-And-How-to-Protect-Your-Business-banner-image

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business

Even though cyberattacks on small and medium-sized enterprises don’t always make news, they pose a real threat to many professionals’ lives, their jobs, and the clients they represent. Because small and medium-sized businesses may lack the backup and mitigation capabilities of some of the more prominent players, SMB cyberattacks frequently impact them.

A new report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) finds that small businesses are the most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. The study, which was conducted in partnership with Norton by Symantec, found that small businesses make up 99% of all companies and are responsible for nearly half of all jobs in the United States.

 

Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats and Their Prevention

The research revealed that the most common SMB cybersecurity threats include social engineering, physical access to networks and data, malware (DDOS), phishing, ransomware, etc. Let’s discuss this in detail!

 

DDOS

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack overwhelms your network’s capacity. The United States targeted about 35% of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2021. With slightly under 20% of attacks, the United Kingdom came in second and China third. The most common target is the computer and internet sector.

Using numerous compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic, DDoS attacks are practical. Computers and other networked resources, like IoT devices, can be exploited by machines.

When viewed from a distance, a DDoS assault resembles unexpected traffic congestion that blocks the roadway and keeps ordinary traffic from reaching its destination.

How to Prevent DDOS

It is not enough to choose a good hosting provider; you also need to ensure that your website is configured correctly so that it will not be susceptible to a DDoS attack. You should use an effective Content Delivery Network (CDN) if possible because CDNs can help reduce the load on servers operated by your website and thus reduce the stress placed on them during an attack.

 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can also come through social engineering because they use spam messages that look authentic but contain links or attachments that look like something else. Financial institutions targeted 23.6% of all phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2022.

These attacks can be hazardous for small businesses because their employees may not know how to recognize fake emails from their bosses or co-workers.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

The simplest way to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to educate your people on how to respond if they encounter one. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t click on links in emails that aren’t from someone you know.
  • Never enter personal information into forms in emails
  • Don’t open attachments unless they come from someone you know and trust.

Malware

Malware is malicious software that can infiltrate a network, damage files, steal sensitive information, and encrypt data. It can spread through email attachments or links in social media posts. The professional sector was the first worldwide industry affected by malware assaults between November 2020 and October 2021. There were 1,234 malware incidences in the industry throughout the measurement period. With 775 such events, the information sector was in second place.

How to Prevent Malware?

  • The good news is that there are several ways to protect yourself against malware attacks.
  • Use antivirus software
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date
  • Use antivirus software with real-time protection
  • Perform regular backups

 

Ransomware

In ransomware, data on a victim’s computer or mobile device is encrypted, and the victim is demanded to pay to have it decrypted. Ransomware affected 68.5% of businesses in 2021. This was the highest figure reported thus far and increased from the prior three years. Each year, more than half of all survey respondents said their employer had fallen victim to ransomware.

To release the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims. A vigilant eye and security software are advised to guard against ransomware infection. Following an illness, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to delete the software, or restart the device. Extortion Trojans use the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software flaws as attack vectors.

How to Prevent Ransomware?

A ransomware infection can’t be removed by turning off one computer and switching to another due to encryption. Getting your data back requires either recovering from a backup or paying the attackers. A malware infection can take anywhere from days (if it’s relatively simple) to weeks (if it’s more complicated).

 

Viruses

A security breach or loophole allows viruses to enter the equipment. Viruses come in various forms and are designed to damage your electronics. Computer viruses can impede computer performance, destroy or eliminate files, and impair programs. A virus can be acquired in several ways, including file sharing, corrupt emails, visiting malicious websites, and downloading destructive software. An increase in pop-up windows, unauthorized password changes to your account, destroyed files, and a slowdown in your network speed indicates that you have a virus on your computer.

How to Prevent Common Viruses?

There are many ways to protect from viruses attacks, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use antivirus software regularly. Antivirus software protects computers from viruses.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business middleSQL injection

Relational databases can be accessed using the standard language known as SQL or Structured Query Language. Databases are used to store user information like usernames and passwords in apps and other forms of programming. Additionally, databases are frequently the most efficient and safe way to store various types of data, such as private bank account information and public blog postings and comments.

SQL queries frequently employ parameters to send data from users into a secure database or the other way around. Attackers can leverage the points where your app talks with a database using a SQL argument to access private data and other secured locations if the values in those user-supplied SQL arguments aren’t protected by sanitizing or prepared statements.

How to Prevent SQL Injection?

To prevent SQL injections, Use parameterized queries. Parameterized queries allow you to specify what parameters will be used in the question and what values will be permitted for each parameter. This prevents hackers from entering malicious data into your application.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid cyber threats. But you can protect your business from them by investing in cybersecurity solutions.

Even though small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger enterprises, they can still protect themselves from cyber threats. You can start with basic security measures, such as installing antivirus software, updating your computer’s operating system, and using strong passwords. Additionally, you should consider investing in a cybersecurity solution.

Choosing the right cybersecurity service provider is just as important as the other steps your company takes to protect its data.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have the resources to hire a full-time staff to manage their cybersecurity. That’s where a managed service provider like Protected Harbor comes in. Protected Harbor protects your data against cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, and data leaks. In addition, you have a team of experts at your side.

Our main focus is on risk reduction and breach prevention, so you can expect a lot of attention to detail regarding accounting monitoring and protection against malware, viruses, phishing scams, and other threats. The service also strongly focuses on data privacy, a highly sought-after feature among customers who work with sensitive data.

Get a free cybersecurity assessment, network penetration testing and secure your business today. Contact us today.

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Ebook Release

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Ebook Release

Ransomware is a new kid on the cyber-security block, and it’s bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “cybercrime.” With ransomware’s growing threat, Small and Mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) don’t have time to learn how to protect their online presence from ransomware. Now they need protection that is easily accessible and affordable.

The good news? With some preparation, SMBs can protect themselves from these cybercriminals without breaking the bank or sacrificing security effectiveness. Today we are excited to give you an exclusive sneak peek at our new eBook – Your Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs. Download it for free to read in detail.

 

What is Ransomware, and Why Should SMBs Care?

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to computer systems or data by blocking inaccessibility by the owner, operator, or other authorized personnel. A ransomware attack may happen when you least expect it, and it has become increasingly common among businesses of all sizes.

It can infiltrate your business computer systems through unsecured networks, emails, social media, and even your employees’ infected devices. Once inside a computer system, it can be almost impossible to remove, and most importantly, it can be extremely costly to get rid of.

Ransomware can pose a severe threat to SMBs. Nearly half of SMB cyber attacks are due to ransomware, making it the number one threat.

 

Don’t Be Scared; Be Prepared!

While it’s true that the best defense against a ransomware attack is not to get infected in the first place, that’s easier said than done.

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack is to:

  • regularly back up your data
  • keep your systems fully patched and updated with the latest security patches and software updates
  • use antivirus software with behavioral analysis and real-time scanning enabled
  • use an internet firewall that blocks malicious URLs
  • use strong and unique passwords for all accounts
  • avoid clicking on suspicious links
  • train your employees to avoid opening attachments from unknown senders
  • have a plan of action in place in case a malware attack hits you

Complete-Guide-to-Ransomware-Protection-for-SMBs-middle-imageHow can an SMB detect a potential ransomware attack?

If you’re unsure if you have been infected with ransomware, you can check your system for indicators of a ransomware attack. Look out for strange network activity, your internet connection dropping out, your systems slowing down, or your employees receiving pop-up messages on their computer screens. Should SMBs pay the ransom if they get hit with a ransomware attack? There is no easy answer to this question. Every situation is different, and it is best to consult your company’s IT department to determine the best action.

 

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Sneak Peak

The dangers of ransomware are real. But they don’t have to spell disaster for your SMB. The key to protecting yourself is to have a proper backup strategy, keep your systems updated with the latest security patches and software updates, and use an internet firewall that blocks malicious URLs. Don’t let ransomware take control of your company. Be prepared for these malicious threats with the Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs.

This eBook is the ultimate guide to defending against ransomware threats and protecting your SMB from potential ransomware attacks. We’ll show you how to keep your employees educated and informed on how to avoid ransomware attacks, how to avoid becoming an easy target, and what to do if they accidentally become infected.

We’ll also show you how to protect your computer systems and data with the best anti-ransomware solutions. We’ve compiled the best ransomware protection software, tips and tricks, and expert advice to help you withstand these malicious threats and keep your SMB safe from ransomware.

Download the free ebook today, and keep reading our other resources to stay safe. Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity audit.

 

Social Engineering Email Scams to Look Out For

Social-Engineering-Emails-to-Look-Out-For- banner

Social Engineering Email Scams to Look Out For

Do you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? In today’s digital age, it can be hard to know who might be keeping tabs on you. Fortunately, cybercriminals aren’t half as clever as they think they are. They tend to make obvious mistakes, letting us know they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer. In other words, if something seems too good to be true or too suspicious to be genuine—it probably is.

That being said, there are still specific types of scams and email messages that seem so out of place that we have to ask: What are these people thinking? Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common cybersecurity email scams.

 

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is an attack that relies on manipulating people and tricking them into giving away sensitive information. While social engineering is often associated with human interactions, it can also be used in digital contexts.

In many cases, social engineering attacks occur when a hacker uses an account with the same name and email address as someone who already has access to a system. This tactic is called “social engineering with the same username and password.”

Other times, hackers might use an unauthorized account to obtain privileged access to a system. With access now granted, the intruder then conducts the social engineering attack.

 

Social-Engineering-Emails-to-Look-Out-For middleEmail Phishing Scams

A phishing scam is a fraudulent email that directs a person to visit an incorrect website and enter sensitive information. Once the information is stolen and put into the wrong hands, it is called a “phishing scam.”

There are several ways that a phishing scam might go about fooling people. For example, a malicious email might appear from a trusted person, such as a friend, colleague, or relative. The email might even include a link that directs the person to visit a website they trust, like Amazon.

 

Baiting

A bait is malware that a cybercriminal uses to lure a person into downloading a malicious file. The bait is usually disguised as a legitimate message linked to the file. Bait files are often used to spread malware through compromised websites. When a visitor visits the website, the site’s code will download the malware and infect the visitor’s device.

Cybercriminals use a variety of ways to lure people into downloading malware. For example, a malicious website’s code might trick you into thinking you must download a file to visit the website. You might also come across a link that looks like it comes from a friend or family member. Such links might appear in social media messages or emails.

 

Scareware

Scareware is malware that tricks you into believing a legitimate problem exists on your computer. After you pay to get rid of the supposed problem, the malware author demands payment again.

Scareware is often disguised as an alert that claims your computer is infected with a dangerous virus. What you are lured into paying is usually the “scare amount,” which is generally a few hundred dollars or more.

Another way scareware is used is to trick you into downloading malware, which then proceeds to charge your credit card or other financial accounts. Some of the most common scareware themes include medical problems, threats to children, and pornography.

 

Pretexting

Pretexting is a type of social engineering involving tricking someone into revealing sensitive information by impersonating someone in authority. For example, an attacker might pose as a technician and trick you into giving away your password.

A pretexting attack might also involve impersonating a friend, colleague, or family member. The attacker might call you and claim that they have missed you or that an emergency requires your attention. You might also be tricked into revealing sensitive information by an impostor pretending to be from a government agency, bank, or other financial institution.

 

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

A Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of social engineering attack that uses the credentials of an employee who works at a company to gain access to the system. Cybercriminals often use phishing emails to trick employees into clicking malicious links that give hackers access to their systems.

Another way BEC works is through “spearphishing,” — where an attacker sends a fake email that uses the email address of a legitimate employee. The fake email might use that employee’s and company names to fool the person into thinking it comes from a colleague. The fake email might also include a link that directs the employee to enter their credentials into a website.

 

Bottom line

Social engineering attacks are pretty sophisticated and involve various tricks to fool people. Besides, it is possible to steal sensitive information with little to no effort if you use a phishing email address or get tricked by a malicious website. The best way to protect yourself from social engineering attacks is to practice safe online behavior and resist manipulation.

Protected Harbor provides complete cybersecurity, including email filtering, secure network endpoints, employee training, and data recovery. The company’s mission is to protect the most sensitive digital assets from third-party theft, loss, or compromise.

We offer comprehensive protective solutions for both on-premises and cloud environments. We have a 24/7 service team with experienced technical experts who can expediently respond to critical incidents.

In addition to security monitoring and threat detection, Protected Harbor offers a full range of managed cybersecurity services, including antivirus protection, encryption, data backup, endpoint security, network security, and remote access.

Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity assessment and ransomware protection.

How Remote Patient Monitoring Creates Security Threats

How-Remote-Patient-Monitoring-Creates-Security-Threats banner

How Remote Patient Monitoring Creates Security Threats

Securing data flow is essential for new technologies in a world of cybercrime and security. The potential value of patient data to criminals is significant in today’s healthcare industries.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, remote patient monitoring was widespread. As clinicians increasingly use technology to support patients’ health and wellness and changes to Medicare CPT codes in 2020, RPM has grown into one of the most lucrative Medicare care management programs.

Between 2015 and 2022, the remote patient monitoring market’s CAGR is anticipated to increase by 13%. However, the quick adoption of telehealth is not without security threats. Security issues must be carefully evaluated, even though they may not outweigh telehealth’s enormous advantages to patients and clinicians.

 

What Is Remote Patient Monitoring?

Patient monitoring is placing a device on an individual’s body to monitor their vital signs and diagnose or treat medical conditions.

Remote patient monitoring enables patients to be monitored in a remote location away from the hospital, clinic, or another healthcare facility. This can be done using various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Remote patient monitoring is becoming more popular as it provides the following:

  • Increased convenience for the patient
  • Reduced stress on the healthcare team by allowing them to focus on other aspects of treatment rather than dealing with monitoring equipment
  • Improved patient outcomes with fewer visits to the hospital emergency room

How-Remote-Patient-Monitoring-Creates-Security-Threats middle

Examples of Remote Patient Monitoring Technology

RPM technology can include everything from mobile medical equipment to websites that let users enter their data. Several instances include:

  • People living with Diabetes can use glucose meters.
  • Blood pressure or heart rate monitoring.
  • Remote monitoring and treatment for infertility
  • Drug abuse patients may benefit from at-home exams to help them stay accountable and on track with their objectives.
  • Programs for tracking diet or calorie intake.

Security Threats to Remote Patient Monitoring

Here are major security threats to remote patient monitoring:

Credential Escalation

Credential escalation is one of the most common threats to remote patient monitoring. This is because it allows attackers to access devices and systems they would not otherwise have access to, like networked printers and medical devices. It also allows attackers to steal data or turn off your monitoring system.

Insecure Ecosystem Interfaces

Many systems that support remote patient monitoring have an interface that allows patients and doctors to control them. These interfaces often use web technology to interact with their users. Still, they also have access to other systems connected via different protocols like UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). These protocols are designed for local networks; they cannot be used on a public network without some proxy.

Phishing attacks

Phishing is a social engineering method involving sending an email or text message to an unsuspecting user, pretending to be from the bank or other company they frequent.

Many remote patient monitoring systems have a single point of failure. The system administrator is responsible for ensuring that the backup system is functioning correctly and that it’s up to date with any security patches.

If the system fails, an attacker can take over your RPM system. This can be done by sending out phony emails or fake phone calls, tricking you into clicking on malicious links in those emails or calls. Once inside the network, an attacker could access sensitive information about patients and their medical records.

Malicious Software

All the patient monitoring devices used in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities have been susceptible to malicious software attacks. The most common cause for this is outdated software versions that do not provide adequate protection from hackers or cybercriminals.

These devices are still vulnerable because they do not have enough security measures to protect them from hackers and cybercriminals. Some hospitals have decided to upgrade their systems to prevent these attacks.

Ransomware

The ransomware attack on Remote Patient Monitoring is a new trend in the digital world. This attack will most likely occur in small and medium-sized businesses focusing primarily on their services and products.

The primary purpose of this attack is to steal vital information or resources from companies or individuals so they can use them later for their benefit.

Ransomware attacks usually target companies with confidential files on their computers and servers because they are easy to access. People who want to get these files will pay money for them, either directly or indirectly.

 

How to Protect Remote Patient Monitoring?

The remote patient monitoring industry is proliferating, and so are the attacks on it. Here are some steps to protect your business from potential threats.

Keeping Technology Updated

Remote patient monitoring systems contain many components, including cameras, sensors, and software. These systems must be kept up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. This is especially important if you use a third-party vendor to provide your network security solution.

Protecting the Cloud Environment

The cloud environment can be vulnerable to cyberattacks, especially regarding HIPAA-compliant healthcare information, usually stored in the cloud. To protect your data from being stolen by hackers or other malicious actors, consider using a cloud storage provider specifically designed for healthcare applications – such as a cloud storage provider built for healthcare settings like yours.

Embracing a Zero-Trust Approach

A zero-trust approach means that all interactions between an organization’s devices and its users should be trusted automatically without requiring any permissions or confirmation from human users. This helps minimize the possible points of failure in organizations’ networks and reduces the risk for employees who unknowingly share sensitive information.

 

Conclusion

While monitoring a patient’s health remotely does seem like a great idea, especially for the chronically ill who may have trouble leaving their homes, remote monitoring also introduces new security threats into the healthcare industry. No system is perfect without precautions and security measures. Healthcare organizations must be aware of these new vulnerabilities, from patients’ privacy to the dangers of cyber hacking and compromising patient information.

With the right partner, you can feel confident that your data stays protected. Our team is dedicated to keeping your data safe and secure, so you can focus on providing the best care possible.

With the Protected Harbor team’s vast experience and proven track record, you can trust that your data is in good hands. With years of experience delivering secure IT, and Cloud solutions in line with industry standards and best practices, Protected Harbor professionals pay close attention to the vulnerability of remote monitoring solutions.

We work with all types of providers, from small to large, to protect your data, reduce risk, and keep your organization secure. Our team of experts will work with you to create a customized solution that meets your company’s requirements. Our cybersecurity solutions are reliable and scalable to fit your organization’s needs.

Feel free to contact our experts if you wish to begin developing a hack-proof medical device or if you wish to schedule an IT audit.

How Social Media Angler Phishing Attacks Target Businesses

How-Social-Media-Angler-Phishing-Attacks-Target-Businesses-banner-image

How Social Media Angler Phishing Attacks Target Businesses

Cybercriminals develop new methods every day for committing online fraud. This also applies to Angler Phishing, a recent type of cybercrime. This threat targets its victims via social media. The criminal gathers private information by posting false messages on a bogus social network account.

Social media is an effective tool for phishing attacks. The key to social media phishing is using personal information, such as a username and password, to trick users into revealing sensitive information about themselves. Most attacks are carried out via fake email messages, but there has also been an increase in phishing websites and malicious links.

In this blog, we’ll explain how Angler Phishing operates, how to spot it, and how to safeguard yourself against the potential loss of your data and possibly even your money.

 

What is Angler Phishing?

Angler phishing is a form of email fraud that uses fake websites to trick you into clicking on a link. This scam aims to steal your login credentials and use them to gain access to your bank account or other personal information.

The act of pretending to be a customer care account on social media to contact an irate customer is known as angler phishing. In these attacks, victims were lured into providing access to their personal information or account credentials in almost 55% of cases last year that targeted clients of financial institutions.

These scams are often spread by emails that appear to be from banks, authorities, or other reliable companies. The emails contain links or embedded images that can direct you to fake websites that appear legitimate. Once there, you’ll be asked to enter your account information — including login credentials for your bank accounts and email addresses for various social media platforms.

The goal is to steal your login credentials and use them to gain access to your bank account or other personal information.

 

How do Angler Phishing Attacks work?

Angler phishing attacks are simple but effective because they exploit a vulnerability in business-related social media accounts. In most cases, the attacker will create a web page with an identical URL address as the legitimate page they are trying to access.

When a BEC attack targets a business through social media, companies must take precautions against these cyberattacks.

 

How-Social-Media-Angler-Phishing-Attacks-Target-Businesses-middle-imageImpact Of Angler Phishing Attacks on Business

If you run a company or have a presence on social media, you should be aware of the impact of an angler phishing attack on your brand’s reputation:

 

1.   Business Disruption

A business may suffer a substantial loss due to a cyberattack, mainly if malware infestation is involved. A complete reversal of operations may be necessary to address the hack. The virus may require the company to operate on a skeleton crew or suspend operation altogether until the malware has been removed.

An interruption of business services can cause significant economic disruptions if the economy is already fragile. A cyberattack could also increase crime rates, making the situation worse.

Business disruption can result from both natural disasters and manufactured events like cyberattacks. The latter category includes everything from information theft to destructive viruses that target specific industries or sectors of society.

 

2.   Revenue Loss

Loss of revenue can have a huge impact, especially for businesses that rely on the internet and e-commerce. The costs of fraud, cyber security breaches, and other types of attacks can be very high, so it is essential to prevent them from happening in the first place.

The first step is creating an active cyber security policy that clearly outlines what the organization expects from its employees, what it will do if a breach happens and how it will respond to such an event.

Secondly, training employees about the importance of validating incoming data before acting on it is essential. Employees should also be made aware that no information should be shared with anyone outside their team without prior authorization.

 

3.   Intellectual Property Loss

Even if businesses are not protected under a ransomware attack, they risk losing user data, trade secrets, research, and blueprints. Regulatory companies, tech companies, pharmaceutical and defense providers are often hit the hardest. A company losing a patented invention for millions of dollars would no longer be able to afford to undertake the kinds of research and development that precede it.

Attempting to struggle directly with financial setbacks is simpler than you might think, but it’s far more challenging to do well without handling sensitive company info appropriately.

Trade Secrets Theft also has severe implications for manufacturers and suppliers who rely on customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track sales trends and contact lists. Suppose a hacker could access these systems and steal trade secret information such as product formulas or pricing strategies. In that case, this could seriously impair their ability to compete against other companies that have not been victimized by cybercrime.

 

4.   Reputation Effect

While the damage to reputation is the most significant consequence of a data breach, it’s not the only one. The costs involved in mitigating a breach can be substantial.

Although many companies have experienced data breaches, few have suffered the consequences. However, even though there are many benefits to having your own data breach preparedness plans, you still need to consider some risks before implementing one.

 

Conclusion

While many types of attacks from botnets or DDoS attacks use malvertising to gain access to sensitive business data, Angler phishing can potentially allow for the same. As a result, businesses need to be aware that such attacks exist and how they work to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Another tip is to be wary of links in emails. Most email links don’t go anywhere and are just there for decoration.

Many companies are likely unaware of such attacks against their networks, trying to mitigate them once they occur. The best way to avoid these attacks is to be skeptical of any links or offers you see on social media. Protected Harbor is your partner in safeguarding your business against cyber threats. With our risk-based approach to security and our experience with thousands of customers, we can create a solution that works for you. Our team of experts will assess your organization’s security posture and recommend how to improve it. We will also develop a detailed action plan to help you stay secure from phishing emails, ransomware, and threat detection and response.

We offer a free cybersecurity audit to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Contact one of our cybersecurity experts today.