Sentara Healthcare calling for renewed focus on cybersecurity this month

Local News

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — October is “Cybersecurity Awareness Month” and as part of that, Sentara Healthcare is working to make sure you protect yourself as online activity increases due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During this time of social distancing, telehealth, digital medical records, and patient wellness apps are the new norm.

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They’ve been beneficial but healthcare officials said they also create vulnerabilities that cybercriminals are preying on.

“I think it is unprecedented. That’s the word of 2020, right?” said Dan Bowden, the chief information security officer for Sentara Healthcare.

Bowden said cyber crimes are on the rise, in ways we’ve never seen because of the global coronavirus crisis. He said it’s because more people are home and using the internet and apps to stay safe and healthy.

“I think the remote workforce caught many organizations a little bit unprepared,” he said.

He said during this cybersecurity month, there should be a renewed push to protect your devices at home and at work.

So, what can you do?

“The two-factor authentication is a little bit of overhead that people that people need to get used to each morning when they log into the network,” he said.

Two-factor authentication means you have to give two forms of identification to access something. Bowden said that’s the most effective way to protect yourself, but there are others.

“If you see a phone call or a text message from a person you don’t know, don’t answer it, don’t reply to it and don’t click on the little link,” he said. “If it was an unsolicited communication, you should be suspicious and if it’s the type of communication that affects your emotions, you should suspicious.”

Bowden said you take a moment to ask yourself: What are you doing at home to protect yourself?

Make sure your family members know the warning signs of scams and be on the same page about ways you use and store passwords.

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