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March 27, 2018

Spring OPPS Update Released

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Medical Coding News Archives

Is the Russian mob selling access to your computer?

April 12, 2017:

Thousands of compromised computers are for sale on criminal-run websites, says IT research firm Kaspersky Lab, in its June 2016 report, The xDedic Marketplace. Many of these computers are in active use today in health care organizations across the country. Prices range from $6 to $200. Computers with administrative rights go for the highest prices. How did this happen? Typically, a “clickbait” was used to entice the computer’s regular user to open an attachment, or click on a link to another site. Then, unbeknownst to the computer user, a file is inserted into the operating system that allows the computer to be controlled by outside entities, often Russian mobsters who then sell access to these computers through online criminal-run websites. And, with control of a single computer, skillful hackers explore networks and look for data that can be useful in a ransomware attack. In health care, ransomware attacks are occurring with increasing frequency. More than 4,000 ransomware attacks occur daily across all industries, up by 300 percent since 2015. But what makes health care such an attractive target? Aside from financial information embedded in health records, it is the value of this protected health care information as a potential HIPAA violation. In nearly every case, the covered entity should have encrypted the data or otherwise kept it out of the hands of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Israel Barak, Chief Security Officer with Cybereason, speaking at the HIMSS conference, Feb. 21, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. In short, covered entities are very motivated to pay what the hackers are demanding.

What’s a solution to ransomware attacks? The 2018 edition of the HIPAA Tool Kit includes extensive new tools—policies, procedures, strategies and tactics—designed to counter ransomware attacks. Due for release in September, these new ransomware tools join the most comprehensive HIPAA reference available anywhere. For more information on the 2018 HIPAA Toolkit, visit https://www.optum360coding.com/Product/47365/.


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