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10 Critical Steps to Protect Against Cyberattack

U.S. hospitals and health centers, which are designated as “critical infrastructure,” have been put on high alert for a potential new wave of cybercrime.

U.S. hospitals and health centers, which are designated as “critical infrastructure,” have been put on high alert for a potential new wave of cybercrime. The warnings have come from several federal and industry organizations, including the White House, FBI, federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and the American Hospital Association.

The threat is real.

Most cyberattacks involve ransomware, a form of malware that gains access to and encrypts an organization’s vital data. Generally, the entry way for ransomware is through end-user devices and human error – employees who inadvertently click malicious email links or attachments. During a ransomware incident, cybercriminals lock down files and systems and demand a ransom, commonly in the form of cryptocurrency, which averaged more than $220,000 last year. That cost doesn’t include all the other costs such as regulatory fines, rebuilding systems, reputation loss, and downtime, which is typically 23 days at a cost of 5-10X the ransom.

Most cyberattacks involve ransomware, a form of malware that gains access to and encrypts an organization’s vital data.

Our team has compiled a Top 10 list of best practices and recommendations to help you maintain a strong security posture to guard against cybercrime – from Russia or anywhere else.

10 Critical Cybersecurity Steps

  1. Train and test employees to never open email from unknown users. Ensure that they don’t click on a link or open a file unless they know the sender and have confirmed that they knowingly sent the link or file.
    • Phishing scams are one of the most common ways hackers gain access to sensitive or confidential data. Phishing involves sending a fraudulent email that appears to be from someone within the company or from a reputable company with the goal of deceiving the recipient into either clicking or downloading an infected attachment. The end game, usually, is to steal confidential information like PHI or financial information. Your employees are on the front line in the battle against phishing attacks and you can’t win without them. Empowering people with good security habits can significantly increase readiness. Consider MTS’ Phishing Simulation Service, which employs simulated phishing attacks as an important part of your overall security awareness program.

Discover Phishing Simulation Program Best Practices in our whitepaper

  1. Establish and enforce policy that employees do not leave their workstation or any other device logged in and unattended for access to unauthorized users.
  2. Make sure you can identify threats quickly and prevent breaches before they occur. With more assets being stored in the public cloud, remote users operating on uncontrolled networks, and increased data exchange among providers, the network perimeter has become difficult or often impossible to define. A managed Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution is an approach to today’s threat landscape that’s based on more rigor, more relevance, and more responsiveness than legacy antivirus programs.
  3. Add an additional layer of security by implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users who are connecting to your network from a remote location, including accessing Microsoft applications and email accounts.
  4. Use web content filtering to block end users from navigating to known phishing websites.
  5. Require that employees change their server and workstation passwords regularly and ensure they are complex.
  6. Ensure your systems have the latest software patches and updates installed.
  7. Ensure that your backups are not stored locally on your network – otherwise they could be compromised in the event of a cyberattack. An air-gapped backup is a critical element for faster, more successful recovery from an incident.
  8. Review and practice your business continuity plan so your team knows what to do in the event your systems are not accessible.
  9. Review your cyberinsurance policy. Make sure you understand your coverage and the steps you’d need to take to file a claim in the event your network is attacked.

In addition to these critical steps, MTS has numerous other security services to assist you and to further secure your network. One example is our unique security alliance – the healthcare industry’s first – that combines managed cloud services, managed security operations center (SOC), and a 24/7 computer security incident response team (CSIRT).

Contact us for more information on how to secure your systems from cyberattack.