Cloud Cyber Risk

Cloud-based storage of an organization’s data attracts cyber hackers like bees to honey. Hackers take time to study and find flaws to breach, extract and sell personal information data. Data Experts Lee Neubecker and John Blair discuss cloud data compliance and legal regulations put in place to protect cloud-based data.

Compliance and Privacy Laws

Cloud cyber risk goes hand in hand when storing data on the Cloud. New compliance and privacy laws have been enacted to protect this cloud-based private information. The State of Illinois has passed a privacy law that specifically addresses how companies gather and store private data.

The Illinois Policy Group, an independent organization that generates public policy, explained that in 2008, Illinois enacted the BIPA, the most stringent law of any state regarding the consent, notice and disclosure procedures private entities must follow when collecting, storing or using people’s biometric information, such as fingerprints, iris scans and face prints. This law forces companies into compliance and makes them more responsible for the collection and storage of private data ultimately, decreasing exposure to cyber risk.

Data Experts Lee Neubecker and John Blair say because of BIPA companies are now more aware of how they secure and store data. They discuss other data compliance and privacy laws such as; California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and how these laws help regulate the healthcare industry and other organizations when storing consumer data, and vendor data in the cloud ultimately protecting the consumer. Watch this video interview to learn more.

View Part 2 of our 3-Part Series on Cloud Data

Part 2 of our 3-Part Series on Cloud Data

Lee Neubecker: Hi I am back again with John Blair. We’re continuing our discussion on cloud security and helping to minimize your cyber risk of having data in the cloud. And today, we’re going to be talking more about some of the compliance and regulatory issues and legal issues that companies face that are having their data and customer data, vendor data in the cloud. So, John, can you tell me a little bit about some of the regulations that impact the healthcare sector specifically?


John Blair: Yeah, the primary one is going to be HIPAA and associated as subsequent acts like HITECH and things like that that augment HIPAA and some of them more clearly defined some of the rules and regulations, primarily Security Rule and Privacy Rule. So those are going to be the ones that primarily come into play, but there are also individual state versions of healthcare acts that you need to abide by and each state has one so you also need to abide by the state regulations as well.

LN: Interesting. So it really, if a company’s operating in multiple states, they have a lot of issues to be looking at.

JB: They have a lot of regulations to be aware of and to be compliant with, yep.

LN: So I know here in Illinois, we have the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act, otherwise known as BIPA and that’s been creating a lot of stir with Facebook recently had a settlement.

JB: Yep.

LN: And apparently Illinois Residents that have Facebook accounts might be entitled to around $200 per person.

JB: Yep.

LN: If you are in Illinois and have Facebook, so possibly you will be notified.

JB: Yeah, Illinois is the only one.

LN: And do you think it will be through Facebook Messenger?

JB: I do not but Illinois because of that law, Illinois residents are the only ones that are getting anything out of that lawsuit because of that, specifically because of that law.

LN: Got it.

JB: So I don’t know the details of the law but on the surface, it seems to be headed the right direction.

LN: Right, essentially they took the position that your biometric information, unlike your cell phone or your social security number, you can’t change it.

JB: Right.

LN: So if that data becomes compromised such as your facial vector map,

JB: Yeah.

LN: Or your fingerprint or your DNA, that you can’t swap it, it’s part of who you are.

JB: Right and those, you know, we’re finally headed in the right direction where it’s being considered personal.

LN: Yeah.

JB: So which I totally agree with.

LN: We also had just last month the California Consumer Privacy Act, known as CCPA went into effect and that’s got a huge impact on anyone who does business with California residents.

JB: Yeah, that is yet to, I think people were preparing for that prior to that but it’s going forward, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of repercussions from that because there’s going to be obviously companies and entities that don’t prepare well for that and are going to get caught up in it because it covers, California is a huge state, a lot of people so there’s going to be some lawsuits.

LN: So it’s also been such that if you’re making medical devices for consumers and you have that information, relaying over 3G, 4G networks, we’ve got CPAP machines, pacemakers, all other types Of information. LN: All kinds of monitors

JB: Yep.

LN: And that information going to the cloud, if you’re a California resident and that information gets breached, it could be used by marketers or it could be used In other ways to target people.

JB: Yeah hospitals are going to need to really step up their game with respect to that particular regulation. Hospitals traditionally are a little bit behind technically speaking from an IT point of view, they’re very much on the bleeding edge from a medical device IT point of view but they tend to lag behind because you can’t, it’s hard to afford both

LN: Yeah.

JB: But this is going to, you know, how they allow individuals or access to their networks, what they allow in and what they allow out because that’s the channel these medical devices use is going to be very, very important that they get more control over those things.

LN: So as it relates to healthcare, what are some of the concerns about when a data incident is discovered to actually turn out to be a data breach, what types of reporting and notification requirements are unique to the healthcare sector?

JB: Well, first and foremost, you need to evaluate the situation and then have in conjunction with your legal team and compliance teams, establish whether or not you do officially declare it a breach which means you need to investigate it, you need to involve any vendors that were involved with that data because it may have been the vendor that you’ve contracted with that actually had the breach of the disclosure and not you but since they’re your vendor, you’re also on the hook and that flows all the way up from business associates, which is what those two entities will be up to the covered entity who actually owns the data. So after a thorough investigation and consultation with legal and compliance, a determination needs to be made whether or not you’ve formally declared a breach. And if so, then there’s all kinds of HIPAA standards that come into play about notification to the government, notification to each individual affected by the breach, what needs to take place with respect to that notification, there’s a timeline involved that needs to be met. So there’s all declaring it a breach is a very formal and arduous task.

LN: Yeah, not a pleasant one.

JB: No.

LN: In our next segment on securing data in the cloud, we’re going to be talking more about when a breach is discovered, some of the issues related to reporting the breach and what that can mean to an entity, especially if it’s not handled correctly. So thanks for being on the show again.

JB: Thanks, Lee.

View Part 1 of our 3-Part series on Data Cloud Storage

BIPPA Laws

To learn more about HIPAA

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html

Illinois BIPPA policy

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/

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Securing Data in the Cloud

Secure Cloud Data! Large organizations buy cloud services that provide storage on servers and other devices and connect with computer networking equipment throughout the world. So, how are they securing the data? Experts Lee Neubecker and John Blair say start with knowing what data is being stored.

What steps do organizations need to take when securing data in the Cloud?

The Cloud is digital storage that is physically secured and stored on big servers owned by big companies and made accessible through the internet. These big companies are connected with other computer networking equipment throughout the world. Does this sound too big to secure? Experts say there’s no time like today to understand where your data is stored and how it’s secured.

Today on the “The Lee Show”, Forensic Expert, Lee, and his guest John Blair who is cyber governance and information technology expert, explores the complexities of cloud-based security and storage. John suggests starting with obtaining a holistic inventory of your organization’s data and most of all be aware that some employees bring their own applications and use their own personal device to store organizational data. Check out this video on securing data in the cloud to learn more about cloud storage and cyber risk.

Part 1 of our 2-Part Series on the Securing Data in the Cloud

Part 1 in our 2-Part Series on Securing Data in the Cloud

The Video Transcripts on Securing Data in the Cloud follows

Lee Neubecker: Hi, I’m here today with John Blair. John is a cyber governance and information technology expert. He’s on the show here today with me to talk a little bit about securing your data in the cloud. Thanks for being on the show again, John.

John Blair: Hi Lee, good to be back, thank you.

LN: So we’re talking about cloud cyber risk. What do organizations need to be looking at to help secure their data in the cloud?

JB: I think first and foremost, you need to understand where is all the data and how do people get data in and out of their environment? There’s a lot of things typically called Shadow IT, where certain departments or certain users might you know, for example, start sending things to Dropbox to sync data amongst themselves to make it easier for themselves. But they might be syncing confidential information that’s not on Dropbox and the organization has no idea about it. You know, that scenario plays itself out over and over and over again, where there might be departments that actually use applications in the cloud that thus obviously, are processing data as well that the organization might not know about either. So you need to get an inventory of data. Where is it from a holistic point of view?

LN: And today you have the Bring Your Own Cloud, BYOC,

JB: Yes

LN: Many employees are bringing various apps with them that they’re used to using from their prior employers, and they’re wanting to use these apps. Sometimes they’re putting them on their smartphones and whatnot.

JB: And that’s driving a lot of the corporate action towards that. The cloud for first and foremost is a cost-savings for the most part. But what people are not realizing is that along with those savings comes certain responsibilities. And, from a user perspective, you know, people are used to as you said, people are used to certain applications, they’re used to certain things on their phone, or on a tablet or they’re used to working in a certain way with certain applications. And then you get in a corporate environment and those applications or that way of working might not be available. And so people start voicing that, and it becomes, you know, somewhat of a problem for corporate to adapt and keep up.

LN: So organizations, especially healthcare-related organizations, as well as financial services and other organizations that depend on intellectual property have a real risk here, don’t they with people bringing apps?

JB: They have a very big risk. Both of those sectors are heavily regulated. Data needs to be very tightly controlled. Breach notifications in the event that it happens become a very big deal, very public. And if you can’t explain where the date is, and where you know, who has it, then you have a problem.

LN: So isn’t there also risk not only faster dissemination of intellectual property and trade secrets, but what if the information becomes compromised by malware or a hacker to morph the data or destroy the data?

JB: Yeah, your only recourse at that point is to have really, really good backups. Because otherwise, you have no actionable direction to take. If you don’t have a backup of that data, you know, you have no ability to recover. It still might be considered a breach, a lot of times, and certain organizations or certain regulations. So you still might have to report it, even though the data has never left your organization, the fact you’ve lost control of it might be considered a breach. So that might be something you’d have to consider with your legal teams. But it’s not, it’s still a very big deal because you no longer are able to use it.

LN: So don’t you have a risk though, that if your backup is online, that the attacker could compromise your primary source and then your backup drive attached to your server?

JB: Well, hopefully, they haven’t gotten that far. But if generally speaking, your backups are always in the separate physical location, and not necessarily on the network.

LN: So you rotate them?

JB: and they’re separate, you know, media and things like that, but yeah, if you’ve gotten to the point where they’ve corrupted your database, they’ve encrypted your database, and they’ve also encrypted or destroyed your backups, you’re, in a very bad way.

LN: So knowing that hard drives sometimes fail, if you’re using a physical hard drive to write the data to, what do you think most organizations should be doing to ensure they have a certain number of versions that they can restore to?

JB: Well, normally backup systems are version controlled and so you do backups based on frequency. You do daily, you do hourly, you do you know, on the spot, so there point in time, a lot of times where there’s a lot of people, organizations, that can afford it have failover data centers, for example, that are mimicking the primary data center. So there is no loss of processing. but that’s very, very expensive to do. But yeah, you should definitely have you know, off-site storage of data. But those are all historical, and things that are not necessarily online that you can immediately refer to those lesser compromised to your point. LN: So when you’re considering bringing in a cloud provider to your organization, is it an official, non-shadow ware operation? What are some of the questions you ask of your vendors and things that you look for to help secure, ensuring those cloud providers are secure?

JB: Right. First and foremost, do they have some sort of testations with respect to the services you’re going to use for that provider? Cloud providers have hundreds and hundreds of services, not all of them are audited by an independent auditor, not that that guarantees anything, but at least if it’s the services you’re going to use or the applications you’re going to use. or the locations you’re going to use with that cloud provider, then you have something to point to say, you know, we did our due diligence, and they have these SOC 2’s or whatever form it might take. But you have to do something on them to ensure that, because the cloud is half their responsibility and half of yours, and you have to make sure they’re doing their half.

LN: So what other things do you think that organization should look for if they’re using data in the cloud, how to maximize the security of that data?

JB: First and foremost, I think they need to within their own organization, block these drop boxes and the Google drives and all that sort of stuff like that, so that people individually can’t make you know, downloads for example, from the database and then upload it to Dropbox or Google Drive or whatever, and then go home and look at the same documents. You know, from a personal perspective, that’s very convenient, it’s very nice to have to be able to sync and you know, you can use one, one central source of the information, but from a corporate perspective, that isn’t your data. It’s a corporation’s data. And so, you know, the corporation needs to be responsible and know where that data is going, and how to prevent it ideally, from getting there. It’s very easy to drop, you know, to block Dropbox at a network level, you know, but the problem is that there are hundreds of those types of things to block. And so you know, you need to do a lot more care from a corporate perspective internally to make sure that your users aren’t putting data someplace where you lose control of it.

LN: And are there any, any other things that you’d recommend adopting if you’re going to use these cloud platforms to help ensure that hackers don’t get access to user accounts?

JB: That’s an interesting one because as yours been, you know, almost all those user accounts have been hacked at one point or another. And so the only thing protecting me at this point is a password. I think multi factors in you know, bio authentication type of actions are the only thing you can do to improve your chances of those accounts not being used by inappropriate people. Because the accounts themselves are basically public knowledge, you know. Your, you know, your username is public knowledge, the only thing protecting it is a password.

LN: And so, you know, the multi-factor authentication actually addresses and requires that you have to have three factors. Something you know, something you are, or something you have.

JB: Right.

LN: So, for instance, many people know their password. They might have a thumbprint or they might have their cell phone.

JB: Right.

LN: That is something that they have. So you know, having that second factor makes it less likely that someone can simply get the password and get in.

JB: Right, where they send like to your point the phone, they send a code to your phone, you enter the code into the application–

LN: Exactly.

JB: And then you gain access. Until then you’re simply at the network border.

LN: So on our next video, we’re going to be talking a little bit more about, again about the cloud, cyber risk security and specifically we’ll talk about some of the legal and compliance issues that arise. Thanks for being on the show.

JB: Thanks, Lee. My pleasure.

Other related articles about securing data

National Institute of Standards and Technology on Securing Data in the Cloud

https://www.nist.gov/system/files/documents/itl/cloud/SP_500_293_volumeII.pdf

Academia Data Governance Information

https://www.academia.edu/37900938/Information_Governance_Concepts_Strategies_and_Best_Practices.pdf

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Understanding EMR Audit Trails

Understanding EMR Audit Trails is important to any company dealing with (PHI). They must have all the necessary security measures in place and follow them to ensure HIPAA Compliance.

Understanding EMR Audit Trails is essential to a patient’s medical history In medical malpractice litigation. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) maintain an audit trail including all of the metadata. This EMR audit trail is a piece of highly relevant evidence as to who accessed what in the record, what entries were made and/or changed, by whom and when. Computer Forensic experts are key to effective electronic discovery during medical malpractice litigation.

How do hospitals record, protect, and store data? HIPAA sets the guidelines for the most highly sought after information by the world’s best technology hackers. Medical records are worth 4 times more than credit card information. Managing Personal Healthcare Information (PHI) places Healthcare facilities at risk of cyber attack 24/7, 365 days a year.

Check out this video with Enigma Forensics, President & CEO, Lee Neubecker, and John Blair, a noted Healthcare Industry Cyber Security Expert where they discuss the importance of protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Lee Neubecker and John Blair

Understanding EMR Audit Trails video transcript follows:

This is the third of the last video in the three-part series on Health Care Industry Cyber Threats:
Watch Part 1, Watch Part 2

Lee Neubecker: Hi, I have John Blair, a cyber security expert in the field of healthcare, and John is also involved with understanding patient medical, electronic medical record (EMR) audit trails, so I asked him to come on the show and talk a little bit about that with me. John, thanks for coming back on the show.

John Blair: Thanks, Lee. Glad to be back.

LN: So John, can you tell everyone a little bit about what HIPAA requires of healthcare organizations as it relates to tracking data of caregiving and the patients?

JB: Sure. Most of this is obviously directed at hospitals, but HIPAA also has things called business associates, and any interaction from any entity with, or any user with, PHI is going to be subject to these audit logging. Hospitals use systems called EMRs, so generally those, the audit trails are built into the EMRs by default, but obviously entities can turn those off if they so choose or configure them differently. HIPAA requires that you pretty much log any interaction, whether it’s read-only, view-only, edit, whatever that interaction might be. Identify the user, identify the time, what was done to the record, and that has to be maintained for several years. So it doesn’t matter what a user does with the record. Even if they just view it, that counts as a valid interaction and has to be logged and maintained.

LN: In fact, all of these hospital software systems out there have to be HIPAA compliant, or else the hospitals wouldn’t be able to use the software packages. Isn’t that true?

JB: Right, right. There’s a lot of federal regulations regarding that, that the standards that these systems have to meet in order to get refunds or rebates from the government.

LN: So Medicare funding, reimbursement, obviously is important.

JB: All of that stuff. And audit logs of user activity and interactions, or any interaction with PHI, is a critical component of that.

LN: You know, what I’ve seen is sometimes despite the software packages being EMR, audit trail compliant, that there’s the ability for the software that’s deployed to be altered so that the audit trails aren’t retained as long as required by law.

JB: Yeah, sometimes the storage of the audit logs, it can be overwhelming. So oftentimes they are archived offsite or inappropriate access is given to the audit log itself. And then it possibly can be changed, which ruins the integrity of the log, obviously, and that would be a very bad thing should something come up down the road and you needed that log.

LN: Yeah, and certainly, someone who has the master database administrator password to that back-end system, they could do whatever they wanted.

JB: Yup. But there’s supposed to be logs of that activity, as well, and reviews of those logs, but you’re absolutely right. If you’re an administrator, you can do a lot of damage.

LN: Yeah, I’ve assisted clients before involved in litigation, medical malpractice litigation, with just seeking the truth of what’s there in the records. Most of the time, they think many hospitals are compliant and do have those audit trail records.

JB: Absolutely.

LN: But, they don’t necessarily want to make that data readily available.

JB: No, they don’t. And it depends, it’s a case-by-case scenario, under the advice of counsel and things like that, but it’s very, very sensitive information, and obviously, it’s a public relations nightmare to have a breach of patient data, so they take those things very, very seriously.

LN: Absolutely. So can you tell everyone what PHI stands for?

JB: It’s Protected Health Information, as defined by HHS, there are 18 very specific fields that comprise PHI. PHI is a subset of PII, which is Personally Identifiable Information, but with respect to healthcare, it’s primarily PHI that we’re worried about and those 18 identifiable fields.

LN: Why would hackers want to target health care records?

JB: It’s far more valuable now than several years ago, it was credit card information, basically for year after year. Now, the credit card companies and technology with respect to how quickly a card can be replaced and deactivated. And so, just more money in it to steal medical information. And there’s more flexibility, as well. You can go get drugs, you can do a variety of things, whereas, with the credit card, it’s just money.

LN: If people wanted to launch a targeted scam on individuals, certainly having records that would enable them to filter patients that have Alzheimer’s, might give them an unfair advantage at duping people out of their savings.

JB: Absolutely. Because generally if you get someone’s entire record, you’re getting everything about them: their Soc number, their address, phone numbers, relatives, I mean, all this information is now at your disposal. And loans can be taken out in their names, it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

LN: So Electronic Medical Records, known as EMR, represent an important target that hackers seek, because of the value of that information, and the uniqueness.

JB: Yup. The price of those records, per record, now varies, but I believe it’s in the $150, $200 range per record if it’s a breach now, and laptops can hold hundreds of thousands of records. So it can be very, very expensive.

LN: But it seems that this is a problem, too, that it isn’t just localized to any one area, it’s universal.

JB: Yeah, it’s across the board. Anyone dealing with PHI has this problem.

LN: How does the cost of a patient medical record compare to a credit card record, compare to the black market?

JB: Yeah, for the last several years, medical records have gained in value every year, while financial records, credit card information have devalued. And it’s to the point now where medical information’s worth four times as much as financial information. And that’s only increasing.

LN: So does that mean that people that work in the healthcare sector in IT and security are going to get paid four times as much as the people of the financial sector?

JB: I wish.

LN: Well, thanks again for being on the show, this was a lot of good stuff. I appreciate this.

JB: Thanks, Lee, appreciate it.

Other related stories about EMR Audit Trails

Other resources to learn more about EMR Audit Trails.

https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/hipaa.html

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Keys to a Secure Supply Chain

The world is data-driven. Companies face an overwhelming barrage of big data. Neubecker and Blair discuss the certifications necessary to ensure constant data security.

Cyber Security is Crucial to Supply Chain

Companies face an overwhelming barrage of endless data that contains sensitive information and involves a variety of supply chain vendors. The world is data-driven and securing your supply chain will help minimize your risk of cyberattacks. Here are some keys ways to help you understand more about securing your data beginning with supply chain vendors.

Check out this video with Enigma Forensics, Lee Neubecker, President & CEO, and John Blair, noted Healthcare Industry Cyber Security Expert dissect big data and the certifications needed to understand how to secure your supply chain to help monitor the risks.

2nd video in a three-part series

This is the second video transcript of a three-part series.

Lee Neubecker: Hi, thank you for doing this show, John.

John Blair: No problem.

LN: I appreciate you coming back on.

JB: Thanks Lee, glad to have you here.

LN: So, we’re going to talk today a little bit about what organizations should be doing to monitor the risk associated with their supply chain.

JB: Okay.

LN: And John, if you can, give me an understanding of what are things that you look for when selecting a vendor or city that might be hosting your data.

JB: Right.

LN: Or running parts of your operation.

JB: Well, the world is data-driven, and so your evaluation of vendors is critical and should be focused on their interaction with your data, what their subcontractors are going to do, are you going to allow them to have subcontractors? Where are those subcontractors located? And by all means, get some sort of attestation, that their environment that you’re now relying on, has been audited, you know, the SOC 2’s, those types of things, go a very long way in giving you some level of comfort that they’re operating their controls effectively and that you can rely on ’em.

LN: Great, can you explain to our viewers what essentially a SOC 2 certification is, and why you care about that with a vendor?

JB: That one, the SOC 2, there are multiples ones, but a SOC 2 Type 2 is the standard. There are five Trust Principles associated with it. The biggest one used probably, 75 percent of the time is security. And that’s where you, the vendor would offer, whatever service you’re interested in, the SOC report would be scoped for that service, and then the auditors evaluate that service according to the security principle that’s defined by SOC.

LN: So, typically they’re looking at physical security measures, as well,

JB: Yep.

LN: that extend just beyond data,

JB: Right.

LN: but physical security measures that help to protect your data.

JB: Right, SOC defines objectives, and then the organization defines controls within those objectives, so the objectives are the boundaries, and then the organization defines the controls, but generally speaking, they are the IT basics, chain management, software development, life cycle, physical security, logical security, network security, data storage and security, transmission security, those types of things are almost always covered under the security principle.

LN: Isn’t it true that someone could have all the certs out there and still get compromised?

JB: Oh, absolutely. The certs are not a guarantee, by any stretch. They are just, you know, as we’ve said, they’re meant to give you a level of comfort in the control environment of the people you are now, basically trusting with your data.

LN: And so, as you go out, and you select vendors if you do this diligence and you find vendors that have a certain level of attestation, and various certs that you care about, that might help you if data breach happened, to show that you actually practiced good faith and due diligence, in selecting your vendors.

JB: No, absolutely, and HIPPA requires it, so if you did some sort of due diligence at least, at least you have a story to tell. If you don’t have a story to tell, then that’s where things start going off the rails almost immediately, because you didn’t do anything, and that’s never a good thing.

LN: Well, thanks for being on the show again.

JB: My pleasure, thank you.

More about cybersecurity

Information on HIPPA website for security professionals

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/security/laws-regulations/index.html

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Iranian Cyber Threat Readiness

DHS has issued an advisory warning of potential cyber attacks by Iran against the U.S. Organizations should watch this short video detailing the top ways to protect yourself from Iranian Cyber Attacks.

D.H.S. Alert – Iran Cyber Threat Readiness

On January 4, 2020 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued an advisory warning that Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber attacks against the United States. Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out cyber attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States. Previous homeland-based plots have included, among other things, scouting and planning against infrastructure targets and cyber enabled attacks against a range of U.S.- based targets. The Iranian Cyber Threat is real and warrants proactive measures to ensure cyber threat readiness and minimize the risk of a successful cyber attack.

Check out Enigma Forensics, Lee Neubecker, President & CEO, and John Blair, noted Healthcare Industry Cyber Security Expert to learn more about what can be done to deter such cyber-attacks and maximum readiness to an Iranian originated cyber attack.

Video Discussion on Iran Cyber Threat Readiness

1st Video in a three-part series with John Blair

This is the first video transcript of a three-part series.

Lee Neubecker (LN): So John, thank you for being on the show.

John Blair (JB): Thanks, Lee.

LN: John is a cybersecurity expert that focuses on the healthcare sector. Can you tell us a little bit about what organizations should be doing right now in response to concerns about potential Iranian cyber strikes on U.S. companies?

JB: Sure. I’m a pragmatist, so I think you should execute the basics first. Make sure your devices, it’s a border level of your network, and the devices are patched. You might want to start increasing your network monitoring for the next few weeks, to monitor the activity coming through, check your firewall rule sets, these types of things, just to make sure that you get a comfort level. I’m a firm believer in executing the basics solidly, and then monitoring. Because if you’re a target, and the people know what they’re doing, there’s not much you can do to prevent it anyway.

LN: So one of the things too, that I would add to that is, I think it’s important that people have a command of what’s on their network, which is basic inventory of your digital assets, so you know what your devices are.

JB: Yes, you do need to know your environment.

LN: Like you said, knowing what’s on your network, monitoring your log files and patching your devices, those three things go a very long way.

JB: A very long way. And they’re just good practice anyway. That’ll prevent most things from going bad.

LN: Great, well thanks for being on the show.

JB: Sure, thank you.

Articles & Resources Related to Cyber Threat Readiness

Resources on the Internet Related to Cyber Threat Readiness

Click here to view the DHS Iranian Cyber Threat Advisory.

Cyber Essentials: Building a Culture of Cyber Readiness– a guide for leaders of small businesses as well as leaders of small and local government agencies to develop an actionable understanding of where to start implementing organizational cybersecurity practices.
Department of Homeland Security

Cybersecurity for Small Business: The Fundamentals” – a set of training slides and speaker notes to help small business owners educate themselves and their employees about cybersecurity best practices and resources.
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Cyber Readiness Program  – The Cyber Readiness Program is designed to provide practical resources and tools to help organizations like yours take action to become cyber ready. Completing the Program will make your organization safer, more secure, and stronger in the face of cyber threats. (Note: account with login is required.)
Cyber Readiness Institute

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