Medacs Healthcare

AUG 29/2019

Cyber Security for Doctors, Nurses and AHPs

As we are all aware, the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into effect in May 2018. The new law extends the rights of individuals regarding the collection and processing of their personal data as well as introducing stricter guidelines to health and social care organisations on the collection, processing and storage of individuals’ data.

Along with this is the increased challenge of cyber threats for organisations. It is reported that the health and social care industry experiences the highest number of data breaches annually.

The wealth of data available on NHS networks makes the industry very attractive to cyber criminals. This was demonstrated in 2017 when ransomware affected hospitals and GP surgeries in England and Scotland, ultimately costing the healthcare organisation tens of millions of pounds and causing thousands of appointments to be cancelled.

Furthermore, as patient information is often available to a wide scope of personnel, the risk of an accidental breach is also increased.

To minimise these risks, healthcare providers should have robust information security plans in place should a breach occur. However, it is also important for individuals to take the necessary precautions when it comes to cyber security.

Cyber Security 1.PNG

How can I prevent cyber-attacks?

There are precautions you can take to significantly reduce the risk of cyber-attacks:

  • Use different passwords – avoid using the same passwords at home and at work
  • Ensure your passwords are not easily guessable – ‘password1’ and ‘qwerty123’ might be easy to remember, but they are also a dream for cyber criminals
  • Use longer passwords – longer passwords may be harder to remember, but they are far more secure
  • Ensure you keep your passwords private – make sure nobody sees you entering your password, especially in a public space
  • Avoid connecting to public wifi – ensure your device does not connect to public wifi networks as these can be insecure
  • Regularly update your software – updating your software will fix bugs and help prevent threats to your operating system
  • Locking your device – avoid leaving your device unlocked when it is unattended
  • Avoid suspicious apps – only download and use trusted apps
  • Do not open ‘phishing’ emails – although ‘phishing’ emails may appear to be from a legitimate source, they may contain harmful links and viruses
  • Enable antivirus software and firewalls – ensure your device is equipped with reputable antivirus software and has an effective firewall installed

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