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How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack During a Public Health Crisis

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It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has gone digital. Medical records are stored in computers instead of filing cabinets, medical devices can be monitored from miles away, and even ACLS certification can be obtained online. However, with this digital approach comes the threat of cyber attacks, a threat that increases significantly during times of public health emergencies.

Bioterrorism, global public health emergencies and even mass shootings such as the recent Las Vegas tragedy strike at random. There is no telling when the next mass Ebola outbreak or Salmonella attack might occur, or what form that health emergency might take.

Unfortunately, opportunities for cyber attacks increase significantly during these crises. This is largely due to the extra strain on the system as well as the additional people using it. Volunteers and staff members working in a system for the first time mean well, but unfamiliarity with IT security protocols can easily create gaps and loopholes to exploit in what is otherwise a sound system.

Criminals might look to exploit the medical system for any number of reasons. Some attackers might be looking to commit identity theft or run online scams; others might use the information to access bank accounts or obtain prescriptions for …

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