For the first time in history, a health crisis has shut down the entire global economy, demonstrating how inseparable healthcare and the economy have become. This also has brought a global increase of cybercrime targeting individuals as well as public and private organizations that have been directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for Covid-19.
Alongside many others, the healthcare industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic due to significantly increased demand for innovation to rapidly respond and improve clinical care by provisioning medical care while modernizing and investing in technology. With the industry’s increasing reliance on information technology (IT) to deliver patient care, to model the disease and to create a vaccine, it’s unsurprising that cyber-criminals are capitalizing on the crisis.
A Quick Summary of 2020
Over the past months, these vulnerabilities have been exploited globally. So here are some of them:
- Cyber-attack that halted the network of a Czech hospital
- Ransomware attack on a vaccine trial group in UK
- An unspecified cyber-attack on the US Health Agency
- An unspecified cyber-attack on the construction company building the UK’s emergency COVID-19 hospitals
- An alleged state-sponsored attack on UK, US and Canadian universities developing a COVID-19 vaccine
The Czech hospital hosted one of the country’s biggest COVID-19 testing laboratories, forcing its entire IT network to shut down. This resulted in significant diagnostic delays regionally that adversely impacted patient care. Also, in recent months, INTERPOL have reported hospitals and universities being threatened with being held ransom by cyber-criminals
In conclusion, organizations worldwide have been pushed to innovate and modernize their IT infrastructure and and to prioritize their patch management and malware protection. Alongside this, institutions should ensure all staff are aware of common cyber-attacks including:
- Luring victims into downloading malicious apps
- Phishing emails disguised as official outbreak updates which distribute malware via attachments or links
- Embedded spyware or malware in publicly available interactive COVID-19 maps and websites.
How to Protect your Organization and Take Action?
In order to protect Healthcare organizations that are facing cybercrime during COVID-19 crisis, here are some recommendations from Microsoft for healthcare providers to take action in:
- Use of strong passwords
- Avoiding opening unknown emails and links
- Enablement of firewall protection at work and home
- Delivery of effective staff training.
If you’d like to see more in detail how to detect, protect, and prevent ransomwares, click here.
Get Support Along Your Journey
In addition to the mentioned before, Microsoft has been calling on the world’s leaders to affirm that international law protects health care facilities and to take action to enforce the law. At the same time, has been working along with customers and partners like VNEXT IQ to help and support customers in healthcare along their journeys and to provide customized solutions to help them protect their businesses, modernize and move forward with their business continuity strategies.
- Windows Virtual Desktop Kickstarter for Healthcare: For healthcare organizations to keep running their Windows 7 environment updated and secure by using Azure Windows Virtual Desktop technologies. Click here to learn more.
- Physician On-Call Solution in a Box: For healthcare providers to configure a pre-built and customized set of solutions on Office 365 based on their specific needs to modernize and automate processes and workloads while helping employees communicate and collaborate faster. Click here to learn more.
If you would like learn more, reach out to our specialists here and we’ll connect with you to hear your particular needs.