Is your health information vulnerable to hackers? How to protect yourself

·3 min read

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Cyber attacks can turn your life upside down with one click of a mouse. (Photo: Getty)
Cyber attacks can turn your life upside down with one click of a mouse. (Photo: Getty)

You may have read about the rash of cyber attacks targeting health-care institutions. Scary stuff under any circumstances. Even scarier that it’s happening amid a coast-to-coast second wave of COVID-19 infections. The hackers, reportedly based in Eastern Europe are infiltrating hospitals’ systems and implanting a malware called Ryuk, which encrypts then holds hospital data hostage until a “ransom” is paid. So far as many as 400 institutions have been targeted.

Part of the reason for the uptick is an unprecedented number of people--some of them healthcare professionals--who have been working remotely. The problem: cyber criminals preyed upon vulnerable employees who were less than savvy about online safeguards.

What about you? There may be nothing you can do about an attack on your local hospital...but what about your home computer? It’s one thing for the world to know innocuous factoids like blood type and cholesterol levels, but what about truly intimate and potentially dangerous information like past afflictions you’ve endured, procedures you’ve had done, and you history with infectious diseases? For cyber criminals, you’ve now got a bullseye on your back.

Malwarebytes prevents malware and ransomware invasions on your computer

Paul Proctor, vice president and analyst at research-and-advisory firm Gartner, identifies two essential yet oft-overlooked precautions. First, he advises knowing what to look out for in phishing emails, which is one of the main ways ransomware is delivered to your inbox. Phishing is when fraudulent emails are sent to you claiming to be from reputable companies, but try to trick you into giving them sensitive information like credit card numbers, social security info and password.

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Proctor says it’s important to educate yourself about phishing, “which is essentially shaping people’s behaviors so that they don’t click on cat videos that are going to lock up their systems.”

Second he advises that you familiarize yourself with the “backup and restore” function of your computer...emphasis on the and. “Everyone does backup these days [but] relatively no one does tests of their restore,” he says. In the event of a data breach, he asks, “What if [backup and restore] doesn’t work? Now you’ve basically taken yourself out.”

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Bad online actors and the evil they do take no days off, so you want a software that’s as relentless as they are. With Malwarebytes, you get just that. Need proof? Over 247,000 users download Malwarebytes’ signature protection every day, resulting in over 200 million monthly scans detecting or blocking over 8 million threats every 24 hours.

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Keep cybercrime at bay with Malwarebytes. Photo: Malwarebytes
Keep cybercrime at bay with Malwarebytes. Photo: Malwarebytes

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Malwarebytes’ Real-Time Protection can protect you not only from the usual cyber crime suspects but apprehend emerging threats to your computer, and data, that are as-yet unidentified. Phishing, ransomware, infected sites will be closely monitored thanks to Malwarebytes’ proprietary tech. In fact, Malwarebytes finds malware on 39 percent of devices that already have antivirus installed! It can also identify programs on your computer that are needlessly slowing it down...all with an updated scanning process that cuts down on CPU drain by 50 percent.

Proctor says having antivirus protection on your home computer will “absolutely” help keep the bad guys at bay.

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