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4 Security Tips for Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and it’s worth taking a minute to reflect on your security stance and what you can do better to protect sensitive data and accounts.

cybersecurity awareness month tips

The Current State of Cybersecurity in 2022

Cybersecurity incidents and data breaches continue to increase across all industries. A 2022 report noted a 42% increase in cyberattacks for the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

The healthcare sector also continues to be a target. The same report noted a 69% increase in cyberattacks targeting the healthcare sector. The Office of Civil Rights also noted that breaches affecting 500 or more individuals increased from 663 in 2020 to 714 in 2021.

Even more concerning, 74% of the breaches reported to OCR in 2021 involved hacking or IT incidents. In the healthcare sector, hacking represents the greatest threat to the privacy and security of PHI. Organizations must take the threat seriously and take concrete steps to protect their systems.

4 Essential Steps for Better Cybersecurity

So what can you do to avoid falling victim to a cyberattack? The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends these four essential steps that all employees can take to protect their accounts.

Watch Out for Phishing Scams

Think before you click! Educate employees on common phishing tactics, create policies to help reduce risk, and invest in tools that flag suspicious emails. Phishing tactics are successful because they prey on common human impulses to manipulate individuals into taking quick actions.

Teaching employees what to look out for and putting in place email filtering systems to flag suspicious senders and links can drastically reduce your risk and the probability of your organization falling victim to a hacking incident.

Update Software

Many people find software updates annoying and snooze them for as long as possible. However, many software updates include security patches for recently identified vulnerabilities. By not updating to the latest version, it leaves your organization vulnerable to attacks.   

Use Strong Passwords

It’s an obvious tip to many security professionals, but many people still use weak passwords that are easy to guess. Today it is easier than ever to crack simple passwords using dictionary attacks or finding credentials on the dark web.

Employees should use unique passwords for each account. In addition, passwords should be:

  • Randomly generated
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and characters
  • At least ten characters
  • Stored securely in a password manager
  • Not shared with other employees

Enable Multifactor Authentication

As we mentioned above, cracking passwords is getting easier, especially if employees are not using strong, complex credentials. Enabling multifactor authentication adds another layer of security to account logins. Multifactor authentication requires users to present two or more credentials to log in to their accounts. The first factor required is a typical username and password. The second factor is usually a code contained within a text, email, or push notification. The user must enter this numerical code to confirm that they are logging into the account. Even if your username or password is compromised, a hacker will not be able to access the account without that second factor. It’s wise to require the use of multifactor authentication, especially for accounts that contain sensitive data. 

Conclusion

Of course, these tips only scratch the surface of a successful security and compliance program. To get started, complete a risk assessment to identify gaps and areas to improve. LuxSci is here to help improve your email security.

What is Cyber Insurance?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

As cyberattacks are increasing in frequency, many organizations have come to view them as inevitable. Even organizations that have a strong cybersecurity program can be impacted by a zero-day vulnerability or employee errors. Cyber insurance helps limit the impact of a cyberattack by helping organizations recover the costs. Cyber insurance is not a replacement for a comprehensive cybersecurity program. In fact, many cyber liability insurance policies require organizations to take steps to secure sensitive information.

cyber insurance

Who Needs Cyber Insurance?

In the 1990s, the earliest forms of cyber liability insurance were created to help address data processing errors. California’s passage of the Security Breach and Information Act in 2003 led to increased demand for insurance policies. Under this law, California companies were required to notify customers if their information was accessed or stolen by unauthorized persons. As other states passed similar laws and instituted financial penalties for data breaches, cyber insurance policies grew in popularity.

Historically, financial information and credit card numbers were prime targets for cyber criminals. As ecommerce and online banking took off, large financial institutions and retail chains were likely to have cyber insurance because of their increased risk. More recently, cybercriminals have expanded their scope to go after sensitive information collected by other industries. The healthcare, education, and manufacturing industries have become frequent targets for cyber criminals. As a result, more organizations are buying cyber insurance. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), cyber insurance sales increased from 26 percent in 2016 to 47 percent in 2020.

This means that any business transmitting or storing sensitive data online is vulnerable to a cyberattack. Sensitive data is not limited to financial information or medical records. Intellectual property, customer or lead lists, and other types of company data could all be at risk.

What Does Cyber Insurance Cover?

There are many types of cyber insurance policies and different coverage options. However, most plans reimburse companies for expenses caused by cyberattacks. Common coverage options include:

  • data recovery costs
  • system forensics to discover the cause of a cyberattack or location of a breach
  • customer notification and reparation costs
  • system repairs
  • legal fees

Some cyber insurance policies may even cover the cost of paying a ransom if compromised by ransomware. Although, it’s tempting to pay a ransom and resume operations quickly, organizations should not count on insurance reimbursement. Law enforcement also discourages companies from paying ransoms and these fees can be quite hefty.

What Doesn’t Cyber Insurance Cover?

Unfortunately, cyber insurance can’t help a company recover from the reputation costs of a data breach or security incident. Many organizations suffer from a loss of business in the aftermath of a cyberattack or breach. Cyber insurance does nothing to defray those costs.

Can I Ignore Cybersecurity?

On that note, it should be obvious that cyber insurance is not a replacement for a strong cybersecurity program. In fact, most insurance providers require organizations to meet minimum security standards to qualify for coverage. Failing to meet these standards may cause the company to void insurance policies.

In addition, lowering the organization’s risk profile by implementing a security program can also help lower insurance premiums. Demonstrating that the organization takes privacy and security seriously can help make these premiums more affordable.

Conclusion

In conclusion, any organization that transmits or stores sensitive information online or is reliant on internet-connected devices to perform vital tasks, should explore coverage options.

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Cybersecurity

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Happy New Year! Start the year off by making a New Year’s resolution to improve your cybersecurity. Here is LuxSci’s list of what your organization needs to do to prepare for the new year.

cybersecurity new year’s resolution

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What is HITRUST Certification and Why Does It Matter?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

Any company can claim to be HIPAA-compliant, but if you are considering using their services, it’s worth understanding what they mean. Using a vendor that self-attests compliance is risky. As a result, many serious organizations use a third-party validator to assure that they are doing all the right things regarding security and compliance. If you work in the healthcare industry, a HITRUST certification is one of the most widely respected third-party validators.

hitrust certification

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Interview with Security Compliance Associates for HIPAA Security Risk Assessment

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Yearly HIPAA Security Reviews are critical to meeting compliance requirements of all organizations under the HIPAA umbrella, either directly or via being a Business Associate.  We have found that many organizations, especially the smaller ones, do not place much emphasis on these reviews, skip them, ignore them, or hope that they go away.  They treat them as a necessary “check mark” rather than an active process that is instrumental to maintaining security and preventing the breaches that been cropping up all over the news.

Solid Security Reviews improve your company’s inherent security posture and awareness and the security of all services you employ through all vendors … including your secure email and secure forms.  I.e. the security of your outsourced services can be compromised if your own systems are compromised.

As such, LuxSci proactively recommends all HIPAA customers and all customers with similar needs, to undergo yearly security reviews.  One excellent organization that performs these is Security Compliance Associates.

Today we are interviewing Randy Homa, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Care Services, at Security Compliance Associates (SCA). He will address many of the questions we have had posed with respect to HIPAA Security Reviews.

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