Temporary coronavirus hospitals face growing cyber security risks

The coronavirus outbreak has led to a series of temporary medical facilities opening across the U.S., most of which will use remote-care devices without the proper protection against hackers. Because of their remoteness and the overall uncertainty that pandemic’s created, cyber security at these temporary hospitals has fallen to the wayside and risks are at an all-time high.

Further complicating matters, most of these temporary units are highly dependent on connected medical devices to facilitate remote care. This leaves these hospitals open to hackers stealing patients’ personal health information via these connected devices.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps health care organizations can take to protect their remote facilities. Not only should organizations ensure their software is up to date and fully patched, but they should also consider enabling two-factor authentication for every account that’s granted access to the remote center’s system.

To assist with securing these remote health care locations, Microsoft has expanded the availability of its AccountGuard security service program. Currently offered at no cost to health care providers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, Microsoft’s AccountGuard service helps targeted organizations protect themselves from ongoing cyber security threats.

“Microsoft believes that the COVID-19 pandemic presents a critical period for COVID-19 responders and essential health services organizations. Technology companies have a responsibility to work with COVID-19 responders to help them manage cyber security threats they face while delivering life-saving services to our communities,” the AccountGuard website states.

“Because those threats include serious cyber attacks from nation-state actors, Microsoft believes it is important to help health services providers, doctors, nurses, researchers, and other stakeholders keep their focus on delivering essential health care to get their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Microsoft, its AccountGuard service provides:

  • Notification in the event of a verifiable threat or compromise by a known nation-state actor against the participant’s Office 365 account.
  • Notification to the organization and, where possible, the impacted individual if a registered Hotmail.com or Outlook.com account associated with the organization is verifiably threatened or compromised by a known nation-state actor.
  • Recommendations to the participating organization for remediation if a compromise is confirmed.
  • A direct line to Microsoft’s Customer Security and Trust team.
  • Best practices and security guidance specific to Health care organizations.
  • Access to cyber security webinars and workshops.