Do Your Part. Be Cyber Smart.

Did you know there are approximately 4.8 billion Internet users? This amounts to over 62 percent of the world’s population, and the number is expected to grow in the future. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on steps individuals and organizations can take to secure their Internet-connected devices and safely adapt to the continuous evolution of technology.

This month’s national campaign pays special attention to the health care industry, exploring the vulnerabilities of Internet-connected health care devices and providing steps for users to maintain cyber security. This topic is especially timely in light of a recent cyber event that caused Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. to take its global systems offline, including its email, claims management system and reporting platform.

The health care industry relies increasingly on Internet-connected devices and solutions to improve patient care, organizational efficiency, speed of crisis response and much more. The emergence of telemedicine, digital health records, online medical devices, patient wellness apps and an increasing number of third parties entering the health supply chain has created many benefits. However, it has also exposed the industry to vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.

In 2019, the U.S. business sector had a 17 percent increase in data breaches, with a total of 1,473 incidents. Cybercriminals often rely on human error—employees failing to install software patches or clicking on malicious links—to gain access to systems. From the top leadership to the newest employee, cybersecurity requires the vigilance of everyone to keep data, customers, and capital safe and secure.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers these five simple tips to be cyber secure at work:

1. Treat business information as personal information.
Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.

2. Don’t make passwords easy to guess.
As “smart” or data-driven technology evolves, it is important to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by employees. Smart technology runs on data, meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices in order to prevent data breaches.

3. Be up to date.
Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it and set your security software to run regular scans.

4. Social media is part of the fraud toolset.
By searching Google and scanning your organization’s social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about your partners and vendors, as well as human resources and financial departments. Employees should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange payment or share PII on social media platforms.

5. It only takes one time.
Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links and delete suspicious messages immediately.

Click for more tips on how to reduce cybersecurity risks at the office, at home and even while traveling. It is important to share this information with your colleagues, friends and loved ones to reduce their risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.

Pacific Federal is a Zenith American Solutions company and subsidiary of Harbour Benefit Holdings, Inc.