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Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Ransomware Attack

Written by: Darren Young on Monday, May 22, 2017 Posted in: HME/DME, Home Infusion, Specialty Pharmacy

Just a little more than a week ago, a widespread ransomware attack, affecting hundreds of thousands of users in as many as 74 countries, including the U.S., U.K., China, and Russia, wreaked havoc on a variety of organizations. Unfortunately, several healthcare facilities were among the institutions targeted.

As you probably know, ransomware is not new to healthcare; many such attacks have made the news over the last few years, and data suggests that the healthcare industry is among the top targets of cyber criminals. This is most likely because, due to their urgent need to access files and data, healthcare providers are likely to pay the ransoms, which the FBI says totaled well over $24 million for all ransomware attacks in 2016.

Improve data security with CareTend!

Could your specialty pharmacy, infusion, or HME/DME business’ system be at risk? The answer is a definite yes, but there are ways you can protect your organization.

  1. Configure your operating systems to update automatically. According to a blog post from Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, the company “released a security update to patch [the exploited] vulnerability” on March 14, some 8 weeks prior to this most recent attack. Those whose systems were updated should have been protected.
  2. Install antivirus and antimalware software, and configure it to scan your system automatically. Antivirus software can help protect your computers from malware infections. Like your operating systems, it has to be updated regularly, so set it for automatic updates as well, if possible.
  3. Educate your staff about phishing. Data from the Security Engineering Research Team’s most recent Quarterly Threat Report indicates that, among all “reported breaches related to malware, the most common delivery mechanism was via phishing attacks on one or more users.” Learn how to spot suspicious emails, pop-ups, and other scams, and ensure your staff knows how to spot them as well.
  4. Enable strong spam filters, and authenticate inbound email. This will help prevent phishing emails from reaching your employees.
  5. Manage privileges to limit access to data. Allow your staff members access to the least amount of data required to do their jobs, and provide administrative access only to those who absolutely need it.
  6. Create backups of your data. With the hosted options available from some software providers, including Mediware and our CareTend system for home infusion, specialty pharmacy, and HME/DME, your data is automatically backed up at our SOC-certified, secure data center. In addition, if you utilize CareTend’s hosted application to operate your business, your CareTend system is automatically updated to the latest version available.
  7. Test your system’s security at least annually. Penetration tests look for vulnerabilities in your network, and there are services and tools available to help you. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends that you do this as often as is practical but at least once every year.

 

To ensure that your home infusion, specialty pharmacy, and HME/DME business’ data is protected by the tightest security standards in healthcare, upgrade your system to CareTend, the next-generation application for your home care business. Learn more at www.mediware.com/caretend.

 

 

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