2020-11-21

Practical Paranoia - Pandemic Phishing on the Rise

Hospitals are prime targets for cyberattacks and this is especially true during COVID-19. The consequences not only disrupt patient care but can be lethal. 


Hackers use phishing emails to trick healthcare workers into downloading ransomware, a type of malicious software that attacks computer systems when an infected link or attachment is opened. The ransomware logs out users and shuts off access to critical information until a "ransom" is paid by the organization.
 
Some recent examples:
  • Outpatient appointments were postponed in Quebec due to a recent cyberattack targeting health board members.
  • A recent ransomware attack in Germany meant that a patient had to be rerouted to a hospital 20 km farther away, delaying care and likely contributing to her death. 
  • An early morning cyberattack at Universal Health Services’ US facilities disabled multiple antivirus programs, logged off users and shut down system access. Affected hospitals had to redirect ambulances and relocate patients in need of surgery to other nearby hospitals. Universal Health Services operates in both the US and UK and is similar in size to AHS with more than 400 facilities and more than 90,000 employees providing healthcare services to about 3.5 million patients annually. 
You can help stop these attacks. 
  • Take note of AHS’ external email warning message. 
  • Don’t open unsolicited email attachments or click on links. 
  • Always report suspicious emails using the "Report Phishing" button on Outlook or forward to stop.spam@ahs.ca, then delete.
Learn more about some of the common tricks cybercriminals use to access your information by viewing Don’t be fooled by Scammers and visit InfoCare on AHS Insite for information on all privacy and information security matters.

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