Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 4 Overview

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AI, BeCyberSmart, hackers, legacy systems, physical security, ransomware, telemedicine

We’re already three weeks into Cyber Security Awareness Month! Let’s take a quick look back at what we’ve covered over the past week as our topics touched on “Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare”.



Have you ever thought about Ransomware and health care in the same sentence before? It’s unlikely that you’ve thought about the two going hand in hand – until more recently, that is. Stories have emerged through various news outlets about cyber attackers holding medical records for ransom. Ransom demands can be for anything from bitcoin to cold hard cash, and can often pose a material impact on the business. It’s also the last thing you want to pay out on. Money cyber attackers receive often goes towards funding even more criminal activities.

It’s a scary thought, but there is a way to keep your data (and your money) protected. Whether you are a medical provider, business owner, or an individual, performing regular backups ensures there is a current copy of your important data saved someplace safe. This should be on a different device than the one you’re backing up, and preferably somewhere offsite. Backups can be scheduled to run automatically based on your needs. They also allow you to back up your data daily, weekly, or otherwise, giving your business peace of mind that its data is secure.



The year 2020 has brought Telemedicine forward as a mainstream option for connecting with your physician. As it becomes commonplace, it is important to remember that your privacy matters. When discussing your health with your doctor on the phone, make sure you are in a private location such as your home. Stay off of public wi-fi if you are having a video call with your physician. Be aware of your surroundings when talking about personal medical matters. Is there a personal digital assistant on the table beside you or someone nearby?


Physical Security

The work you do to be cyber secure can all be undone if you don’t keep Physical Security in mind. As a medical professional (such as a nurse, doctor, or medical receptionist), it’s important to ensure that any computer workstations you use are locked before you leave them. This ensures that your patients’ information, from test results to allergies, stays secure.

This also applies to individuals and businesses. In keeping your workstation locked when you are physically away from it, you make sure that any information on your workstation is safe. Another thing you can do to remain secure is to not let anyone follow you through restricted access doors. At the office after hours? If the doors are locked, and an access card is required to get in, help keep it that way! Make sure the door closes behind you before you head back to your desk and don’t hold the door open for someone you don’t know.


Legacy Systems

When I think of legacy systems, I think of the old cathode ray televisions with a dial to change the channel. Or oversized cell phones that you could barely hold in your hand. What we’re talking about here is actually any device or software, such as computers, routers, or cell phones, for which manufacturers will no longer provide updates and security patches. These devices are the most vulnerable to cyber attacks. Once the manufacturer stops releasing updates for these devices, any remaining security flaws can forever be exploited. It can be expensive, but if you’re able to, replace any legacy systems with newer devices that are still being supported by their manufacturers. When they’re replaced, make sure you keep them updated!


Week 4: The Future of Connected Devices

With week 3 in the books, week 4 had us looking at “The Future of Connected Devices”. Full of innovative technology, the future will most certainly disrupt industry and everything common and ‘normal’ that we are familiar with today. Just think – 25 years ago, the idea of being able to have a device small enough to fit into your pocket with access to knowledge from around the world was but a dream. Imagine what wonderful innovations will come down the pipe over the next 25 years!


Artificial Intelligence

When I think about the future, Artificial Intelligence, or AI, as it’s more commonly known, often comes to mind. Have you ever thought about the possibility that AI could support humanity? Thinking and reasoning would be a shared trait between computers and human beings! With the vast number of technological developments and discoveries happening each day, this idea is not so far out!

Cyber criminals count on the fact that they are taking advantage of a human when they conduct their attacks. Now, imagine a machine (AI) with the ability to outthink a human, capable of considering all possible outcomes in a cyber attack in real time. Even the most skilled attacker could have their efforts thwarted by AI. A technological advance such as this could be a game-changer in the cyber security world!



Speaking of cyber criminals, let’s take a look at Hackers. The word evokes images of black hoodies (or “bunnyhugs” for our friends in Saskatchewan), dark rooms, and illegal activities. Did you know the term “hacker” originally meant someone who uses technical know-how to overcome a challenge? Today it is associated with illegal activities, but there are different shades of hackers:

  • “White Hat” hackers do so for good, with permission. They are the most ethical of hackers. They use their skills to identify vulnerabilities and shortcomings of information technology systems in order to evaluate their level of security.
  • “Black Hat” hackers focus on illegal actions. They use their skills maliciously for personal gain, destroying, modifying, or stealing data from businesses and individuals alike.
  • “Grey Hat” hackers sit in between the two. This means they’ll work within and outside the law as it suits them best. They will breach systems without permission, but may not exploit any vulnerabilities they find.


Still to come…

There are still a few days left to go in Cyber Security Awareness Month. We’ll take a look at Cognitive Security as well as 5G Technology and its Effect on Cyber Security as they relate to the week’s theme, “The Future of Connected Devices”. We’ll also do a final wrap-up of the month on October 31st!

Make sure to check out our Instagram and Twitter accounts for new tips, tricks, and tidbits on how to #BeCyberSmart!

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