Kaspersky grants healthcare bodies free security software

Kaspersky logo on a screen

Kaspersky has offered medical organisations free enterprise security software for six months to stay protected from cyber security threats as they begin to grapple with the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak.

The full product licenses span a host of B2B products, including endpoint and cloud infrastructure protection platforms such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Advanced, and Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security.

Healthcare bodies can also take advantage of six months’ usage of the firm’s software as a service (SaaS) endpoint protection product, dubbed Endpoint Security Cloud Plus, as well as its Microsoft Office 365 protection suite.

The Russian firm has extended the offer just as healthcare organisations, and wider businesses, face a wave of threats tied with the global pandemic.

Hackers, for example, are exploiting the general confusion around the outbreak to launch phishing attacks by posing as bodies like the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). These are similar to the kinds of attacks that were launched during the Ebola outbreak.

Healthcare systems have also been facing a wave of serious threats, including the NHS in Cumbria, which alone has been hit by more than 150 cyber attacks in the last five years.

“In this critical situation, healthcare institutions are under immense pressure and carry huge responsibility while saving people’s lives and fighting against the infection,” said VP of Kaspersky’s global sales network Evgeniya Naumova.

“Doctors, nurses and all medical staff take on most of the load and therefore need any support possible. We feel that it is our duty to support the medical community.”

The offer has been made so these organisations can channel their efforts into fighting the pandemic instead of worrying about their security setup over the next six months. Hospitals and medical institutions, in particular, will need to ensure the stability of equipment, and that data is freely flowing from system to system, and that staff can access it.

Kaspersky has also outlined a set of measures that healthcare organisations can take to raise their cyber resilience, including implementing awareness training for both medical and administrative staff.

The company has also recommended that hospitals re-examine their security systems to ensure they’re updated and configured properly, which includes turning on any firewalls and ransomware protection.

Hospitals urgently hiring more staff, meanwhile, including nurses and doctors, are also being advised to keep a handle on the growing number of endpoints that will come as a result.

In the same vein, medical devices should be properly configured and updated, including crucial equipment like ventilators, with the supply of these critical devices likely to ramp up significantly in the coming weeks and months.

Organisations around the world are taking measures to refocus their energy and efforts into frontline healthcare. NHS Trusts, for instance, have been granted a six-month delay to complete critical cyber security checks in order to focus their efforts on treating patients.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.