Ransomware: The Trend That Never Goes out of fashion

A recent report by KLAS and CHIME looked at the cybersecurity practices of healthcare providers, based on recent guidance issued on cybersecurity practices in the healthcare industry. The results? Although some best practices seem to be on the radars of organizations of all sizes, overall findings suggest that small practices have some work to do.

In their white paper, KLAS and CHIME look at a document recently released by the 405(d) Task Group, which was put together by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) following the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. The document “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices: Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” (HICP), outlines 10 cybersecurity practices that organizations should focus their attention on.  Remember, don’t just take your IT service providers word for it, if your practice is “ALL GOOD” or not, I have heard it all before later to find out different.  Have your practice assessed by an outside company. This is the only true way to know where you stand, and know how resilient you are against business interruptions regardless if is a cyber attack or system outage.  You NEED to know so you can be prepared.  This is call a Business Impact Analysis, this is not something that IT service providers do so seek to have it done by a third-party professional.

10 Cybersecurity Practices

  1. Email Protection Systems
  2. Endpoint Protection Systems
  3. Access Management
  4. Data Protection and Loss Prevention
  5. Asset Management
  6. Network Management
  7. Vulnerability Management
  8. Incident Response
  9. Medical Device Security
  10. Cybersecurity Policies

KLAS and CHIME used responses from over 600 providers gathered in the 2018 Healthcare’s Most Wired survey to assess how healthcare providers are doing in their adoption of these cybersecurity best practices.

How are organizations doing with their adoption of cybersecurity practices and how can you improve yours?

Below are the key findings laid out by KLAS and CHIME on how organizations are doing with the 10 cybersecurity practices recommended by the Task Group.

  1. Email Protection Systems – Practices of all sizes seem to be doing well with their email protection, with most organizations having deployed email protection systems.
  • Are you protecting your email? Email protection includes filtering and encryption services to help keep attackers out. With email being the most common attack vector, email protection is critical, but only one component of keeping attackers at bay when it comes to email threats.
  1. Endpoint Protection Systems – Similar to email protections, practices of all sizes are also doing well with deploying endpoint protection systems. It is worth noting however, that 20% of small organizations have not implemented an intrusion-detection and prevention system (IDPS), an important first line of defense in protecting endpoints.
  • Are you protecting your endpoints? With mobility becoming more common in the workplace, it’s critical to ensure that ALL endpoints are properly protected. Endpoint protection includes antivirus, encryption, mobile device management (MDM), and more.
  1. Access Management – Most organizations acknowledged that they have adopted access management policies, however, less than half of small organizations have implemented multifactor authentication (MFA). There has been little adoption for adaptive/risk-based authentication for organizations of all sizes.
  • Are you managing access? Managing user access is critical, especially in the healthcare industry. As cybercriminals continue to target the healthcare industry, they will continue trying to crack employees’ credentials, send phishing emails, etc. It is important to make it difficult for attackers to get in, thus implementing controls like MFA is critical.
  1. Data Protection and Loss Prevention – Data loss prevention (DLP) tools are in place for most organizations, including 70% of small organizations. All organizations stated that they back up their data, however, the majority do so offsite rather than in the cloud.
  • Are you addressing data protection and loss prevention? Patient data must be shared securely, meaning that data must always be protected including at rest, in use, and in motion. Policies and procedures should be in place to address this process, which is a basis for DLP. Encrypting your data and ensuring you have backups available is essential for businesses of all sizes.
  1. Asset Management -The survey collected little information when it comes to how organizations are managing their assets, however, almost all respondents said they are properly disposing of devices with PHI.
  • Are you managing your assets? Knowing what devices are used within your organization is extremely important, however simply tracking what devices you purchased is no longer enough. Organizations should know what operating system their devices are running, MAC and IP addresses, locations, patching information and more. Policies should be in place that outline how you’re managing assets, including how you’re properly disposing of them when the time comes.
  1. Network Management – Nearly all organizations have network access controls (NAC) to monitor devices that are connected to the network. Organizations are doing well with firewalls and device security, which are widespread, however less than half of small organizations reported having their networks segmented.
  • Are you managing your networks? Managing your network is incredibly important at keeping cybercriminals out. It is absolutely necessary for all organizations regardless of size to have their networks properly segmented, that way if an attack were to occur it would not spread to the entire network. In addition, protecting your network with firewalls and device security should be a top priority.
  1. Vulnerability Management – 90% of large organizations running vulnerability scans at least quarterly, while 60% of small and medium-sized businesses are. Despite the Task Group recommending large organizations run penetration tests, small organizations are more likely to do so. Some small organizations reported that resource constraints prevent them from involving multiple business units in their remediation.
  • Are you managing your vulnerabilities? Vulnerability scans will look for and identify vulnerabilities found within your organization. Adding in penetration testing through internal or external teams will also help you with your vulnerability management, allowing for a deeper look at your vulnerabilities. Policies should be implemented so that after you have conducted a vulnerability scan, you will be prepared to prioritize and remediate the identified vulnerabilities.
  1. Incident Response – Most organizations have an incident response plan in place, however only half of them conduct an annual enterprise-wide test to see if that plan is successful.
  • Do you have an incident response plan? Having an incident response plan is yet another critical cybersecurity practice for organizations of all sizes. This plan should include policies and procedures for handling an incident, quickly and efficiently isolating and mitigating security events, how to handle breach notifications, etc. In addition to having an incident response plan in place, it should be tested at least annually to verify that the plan works the way you intend it to.
  1. Medical Device Security – Medical device security was found to be a top security concern for survey respondents due to the challenges that are present with them, like their potential to be breached and put patient safety at risk. The top two security struggles identified with medical devices include out-of-date operating systems that cannot be patched and a lack of inventory of assets due to a large number of devices that need to be secured.
  • Are you securing medical devices? Although it may be easier for small organizations to secure their medical devices due to a lower volume of devices and strong policies for doing so, organizations of all sizes should make this a priority. While difficult to do so, do your best to keep an inventory of your medical devices and verify that the list is current. If a vulnerability is known for a device and you are aware of that device and its location, you can begin addressing that vulnerability.
  1. Cybersecurity Policies – Small organizations are less likely to have cybersecurity policies in place, such as dedicating an individual to be the chief information security officer (CISO), or a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.
  • Do you have your cybersecurity policies in place? A strong cybersecurity program includes policies and technology to support them. Don’t overlook the importance of implementing cybersecurity policies. KLAS and CHIME state, “While various policies underly each of the previous nine cybersecurity practices, organizations’ overall security policies should include the following elements: proper classification of data; definition of roles and responsibilities within the organization (including proper governance); employee education; definition of acceptable data and tool usage; definition of proper use of personal and employer-provided devices; and creation of a cyber attack response plan.”

Although not all cybersecurity best practices are being ignored in the healthcare industry, it is safe to say that there is work to be done, especially within smaller organizations.

Remember, it’s not only the government and your state of compliance you need to worry about, it’s cybercriminals too.

For more information regarding the cybersecurity best practice guidance, put together by the Department of Health and Human Services, check out this recent webinar!

Or if you need help implementing these measures contact Sentree Systems, Corp. We have the expertise to get your practice inline before it’s too late.  317-939-3282 or sentree_support@sentreesystems.com or for more information and tips on what you can do download our FREE report on how to minimize your risk of Ransomware attacks.

The post An Analysis of Cybersecurity Practices in the Healthcare Industry appeared first on HIPAA Secure Now!.



Cybercriminals continue to flex their muscles over the healthcare industry with ransomware striking an Ohio medical practice previously this month.


NEO Urology in Boardman, Ohio, experienced a complex ransomware attack, along with hackers encrypting the organization’s whole computer system.


According to the report from local news agency WFMJ, the attack on NEO Urology occurred on June 10 th , when a fax has been sent to the practice administrator asking for a ransom payment of $75, 000 via bitcoin to uncover their files that were encrypted within the attack.


NEO Urology contacted their IT firm, who seem to suspects the hack originated in Russian federation. The IT firm used the third-party to pay the hacker the particular $75, 000.


The business stated that “the hackers proceeded to go so deep into their system it took until Wednesday [June 12 th ] to access their computer systems. ” With NEO Urology being not able to access their systems, downtime expenses added up quickly. The exercise told police that their reduction in revenue due to downtime had been between $30, 000-$50, 000 daily, according to WFMJ.


This particular ransomware attack goes to show that cybercriminals still see the value in focusing on the healthcare sector. With health care organizations needing constant access to their own data or their patients’ information, these businesses cannot afford to go with out computer access – an attractive reason behind cybercriminals to target the industry with ransomware.


Ransomware is displaying no signs of slowing down, in fact , based on a report from Malwarebytes, businesses noticed an astonishing 195 percent embrace ransomware attacks in Q1 associated with 2019.


Do not make the error of thinking you are not a focus on for ransomware. While it is true that will cybercriminals favor the healthcare industry and small to medium-sized companies, anyone could have a bullseye on the back when it comes to being struck simply by ransomware.


The write-up NEO Urology Experiences Ransomware Attack, Pays $75, 500 Ransom appeared 1st on HIPAA Safe Now! .

healthcare sector



Patient data exposed


Inmediata Health Team, Corp., a provider of clearinghouse services, software, and business digesting solutions to health plans, hospitals, IPAs, and independent physicians recently introduced a security incident affecting some consumer data.


The occurrence was discovered in January 2019 whenever Inmediata found a misconfigured web page was allowing some electronic information about health to be viewed publicly. The web page was allowing search engines to catalog Inmediata’s internal webpages that were employed for business operations and not intended for general public view.


The thing that was exposed?


The information involved in this incident consists of patients’ names, dates of delivery, genders, and medical claims info, with some affected individuals, potentially having their particular Social Security numbers exposed.


There is currently no info available on how many individuals were impacted and how long the webpage has been publicly accessible.


Inmediata’s next steps


Once Inmediata became conscious of the incident, the misconfigured web page was deactivated, and a computer forensics company was engaged to assist with all the investigation.


At this time, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest the shown information was subjected to unauthorized accessibility or misuse, however , the possibility could hardly be ruled out.


Inmediata began notifying affected individuals by postal mail on April 22, 2019. The particular notification letters included information about the particular incident and steps the individuals should take to monitor and secure their personal information.


Verify you’re working with HIPAA up to date vendors


This particular breach serves as an important reminder that will it’s not always the Covered Organization that causes a data breach.


It is critical to ensure you are working along with vendors who are taking the appropriate procedures to protect your patient data, which you have a Business Associate Agreement in position with those vendors from the start of the contract with them.


Additionally , you should verify your Business Associates (BAs) are ensuring their own HIPAA conformity on an annual basis. One way of carrying this out is by sending your BAs a compliance check. If you’re dealing with compliant vendors, they should be happy to react to your request.


If you discover you’re working with a non-compliant supplier, it may be time to rethink your romantic relationship with them. After all, a data infringement caused by them has a direct effect on you.


The publish Misconfigured Webpage Uncovered Patient Data made an appearance first on HIPAA Secure Now! .

clearinghouse services



Ransomware is not a new kind of cyber-attack. In fact , it’s been around for a long time, but don’t let its age group fool you; ransomware is not “yesterday’s news”. Ransomware is just as alive like ever before, continuing to dominate sectors across the globe, and healthcare is not immune system from its threat.


You might be familiar with some of the more prominent ransomware attacks that made headlines during the last few years. Perhaps you’ve heard of Petya, a form of malware that affected a large number of computers across the globe in 2016 plus 2017. Then there was WannaCry ransomware, the infamous ransomware that required the world by storm in 2017. Let’s take a closer look at the WannaCry outbreak that caused chaos plus damage for many organizations.


The WannaCry Epidemic


WannaCry hit many organizations worldwide but possibly gained its notoriety by hitting several significant, high-profile systems, including Britain’s National Health Service as well as the United Kingdom’s National Health Provider (NHS). WannaCry showed just how harmful (and inconvenient) ransomware can be. Hostipal wards had to cancel operations and check ups, relocate patients, revert to pen and paper, and more.


Some businesses were hit harder than others by the attacks, like Erie County Medical Center who lost access to 6, 000 computers, forcing them to do their processes manually. Recovery costs for the infirmary reached $10 million.


Could It Have Been Prevented?


Microsoft actually released a patch had a need to prevent WannaCry infections BEFORE the attacks began. Unfortunately, despite the patch being deemed “critical”, many systems weren’t patched, leaving them vulnerable when WannaCry began sweeping the globe. Infected systems left their organizations with two choices: pay the ransom (and potentially still not regain access to your data) or recall your files from a backup.


This serves as a very important tip of two things:



    • ALWAYS ensure your systems are unquestionably patched and kept up to date


    • Backup your files inevitably



Ransomware Today


Fast forward to 2018-2019 – ransomware is still alive and doing very well. You may have heard of GandCrab, which developed surfacing in 2018. We’ve similarly seen LockerGoga, a form of ransomware who began surfacing early this year this is likely responsible for an attack on Norwegian aluminum manufacturing giant Norsk Hydro. And, in recent news, Robbinhood, pretty new variant of ransomware has demonstrated what damage it can cause, severe the city of Greenville, North Carolina in the past few months (April), and striking Baltimore state earlier this month.


Irrespective of what variant of ransomware we are seeing at any given time of any given for anybody who is, one thing remains the same – will be destroy your system, your data, your history, and can even close down your organization.


Protecting and Getting ready Your Organization


Health-related organizations must remain diligent for implementing and enforcing security solutions to protect against cybercrime. The worst should be to you can make is to assume you are not a meaningful target for cybercriminals – and consequently a target, from small businesses on the way to large corporations. If you access or simply store data, you have what scammers want.


Learn your employees. In the event that, your employees must be trained at security awareness. Not only should they are capable to spot and prevent malicious attempts while cybercriminals, they should also know how to open up if they suspect a data breach quite possibly inadvertently cause a security incident.


Ensure your réseau are properly segmented. If your organization would suffer a trigger, having segmented networks would make the much more difficult for the ransomware on spread across systems.


Patch your applications but also operating systems. If there is one specific known vulnerability, it is critical that you plot it as quickly as possible. Looking previously at WannaCry for example , had very much more organizations patched that vulnerability may well have yielded a much different results.


Frequently duplucate your files. Employing data backups is critical, for every data recovery and HIPAA compliance. Your current system is hit by ransomware, back up copies would provide you with access to method to prior to the intrusion. Make sure that your registers are backed up at an offsite place of business or in the cloud that way should the organization is struck by a health and safety incident or disaster, your a back up won’t go down with the rest of your main systems. You should also test your backups over and over to ensure they are not corrupted.


Have a disaster recovery furthermore an incident response plan. Your organization and your employees should know how to respond when a disaster and / or suspected security incident strikes. Come with these plans well documented keep in mind, not every incident will be handled exactly the same. The type of incident and the magnitude of this history incident will dictate how you respond to.


Cyber insurance policy is a must-have for every organization. Despite all preventative labors, breaches happen, and when they do the cost add up – quickly. HIPAA filiforme, legal counsel, breach notification, and credit worthiness monitoring are just some of the expenses chances are you’ll incur after an incident. Internet insurance can help protect you from losses with reference to data breaches or security traces.


While we’ve spotted several ransomware variants come and go in conjunction with chatter may seem to have silenced, don’t for one second be fooled down into thinking ransomware is dead. In case patches are issued for weaknesses and decryption tools are created for the purpose of regaining access to encrypted files, cybercriminals don’t just give up. Attackers get sophisticated and will continue to advance the company’s tactics and come out with new injuries of ransomware. Be prepared for an internet attack at any given moment which means you never know when one may find a way into your organization.



Erie County Medical Center

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