How to Protect Your Medical Practice from Cyber Attacks

  • December 01, 2019

  • Let’s begin first with warmest holiday wishes to our customers! During the holiday season more than ever, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. In this spirit, we at RevPro Healthcare Solutions, simply and sincerely want to Thank You all and wish you a wonder filled Holiday Season and the Happiest of New Years! And now, on with this month’s blog.

    Anyone who has been paying just cursory attention to the news will undoubtedly be aware that healthcare organizations are becoming a huge target for criminal computer hackers. Yet many of us still live in a bubble of blissful ignorance when it comes to computer security. Unfortunately, the truth is cyber-crime is rampant. There’s little doubt that malware, spyware and insidious virus attacks can target any computer with Internet access.

    Security Breaches Are Not Always Apparent

    Not all Internet security breaches are immediately apparent, therefore we are often unaware that our seemingly hassle-free computing is anything but safe. The stark, naked truth is that cyber criminals consider medical practices ripe for the picking. Security policies and ongoing education work are a necessity. One of the biggest mistakes a practice can make is to assume it won’t be a target because it is too small or has nothing of value.

    Sophistication of Cyber-Attacks On the Rise

    The degree of sophistication and volume of attacks of these cyber-attacks is on the rise, with major payers, cities, and hospital systems being attacked using a variety of malicious scams, including malware, ransomware, or phishing. Cybercriminals have many resources and are highly knowledgeable about how technology works and its vulnerabilities, experts say.

    The Federal Trade Commission offers seven guidelines to help consumer surf the Web safely:

    • Protect your personal information. For example, when shopping on an eCommerce site, make sure that the page where you enter your personal information is secure, as designated by “https” before the URL. It’s important to stop identity theft before it starts.
    • Know before you click. For instance, many cyber-criminals impersonate legitimate businesses, or send “phishing” email that asks you to click a hyperlink. Check out online merchants and never click on emailed hyperlinks unless you’re certain of the source.
    • Use Web browser and operating system security features. Make sure your browser settings give you optimal privacy and security, and ensure that you update your operating system regularly to take advantage of security patches.
    • Update anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software often. Hackers and others who engage in cyber-crime seem to always be a step ahead of the good guys. If your computer protection is outdated, you’re vulnerable.
    • Always do backups. If your computer does get a virus or a worm, your files may be goners. Make sure to regularly back up any important files and store them in a secure place.
    • Safeguard your passwords. For example, create a unique password for each site you visit, and keep them in a secure place. Use letter, number and symbol combinations that can outsmart automated password detection programs.
    • Prepare for emergencies. If something does go wrong, such as your computer being hacked or infected, or if you accidentally divulge personal information, know what courses of action you should take to remedy the situation and prevent further problems.

    The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) has an excellent article for how to beat hackers at their own game. You can read it here.