One of the largest changes in the fire service today is the advent of technology. While technology can keep firefighters safer and better prepared for their job, there is an increased risk. Every 39 seconds, there is a cyberattack. These attacks can hijack technological systems and jeopardize the ability to save lives. As a result, it becomes every department’s responsibility to learn about cyber security now instead of learning these lessons the hard way.
One of the most common and profitable types of security breaches for hackers is ransomware, which works by encrypting a victim’s hard drive, denying them access to key files, and demanding a ransom to decrypt the files and give access back to the user.
An IoT (internet of things) device is any device that has the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer contact. These devices can be targeted by cyber attackers and if not properly protected, could leak sensitive medical information or even put lives at risk.
Phishing scammers use email or text messages to trick individuals into giving them personal information such as passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Phishing emails may even appear to come from a company or person you know and trust. Scammers often create messages similar to what a bank, credit card company, social networking site, or online payment website/app would send. When targeting a fire department, they may send emails that appear to come from mutual aid agencies, non-profit organizations, or the government.
Protecting your Department
Don’t use the same exact password for multiple accounts and change them every few months.
The medical facility should have a secure network infrastructure with equipment calibration verification policies and processes continuously reviewed and updated.
Training should be provided to users and patients to ensure they’re aware of associated risks.
Using a cloud-based system eliminates the need to keep your data on physical servers, which are much more prone to being hacked. This way, your data will be backed up to the cloud and at lesser risk of exposure to hackers.
95% of data breaches can be attributed to human error. Ensure your team is aware of the common threats and the importance each person plays in keeping your department secure from cyber attackers.
Protect data & services
Use features like automated security updates and differentiate access to files and data. Limit user access within systems to only include the information they need specifically to do their job.
Establish a policy
Create a policy to cover basic expectations for firefighters, as well as some best practices for cyber security. It should cover what to do if a data breach has been discovered.In general, utilizing software providers that care about security is imperative. Choose providers that are knowledgeable about how their product keeps data safe, and hosts in environments that are focused on the same.
About Provident Insurance Programs
With roots dating back to 1902, Provident Insurance Programs is a program administrator that serves paid and volunteer firefighters in addition to emergency medical responders with numerous custom-tailored insurance programs. We’ve also extended our expertise and experience to offer benefit plans and coverages to participant groups as well as Transportation Benefits. We are committed to continuing to provide superior customer service, and would be happy to speak with you to provide further information. Give us a call today at (855) 201-8880 to speak with one of our representatives.