The Coronavirus Threat Lurking Beyond the Clinic

CAPAdvantage program member, Acentec, has recently distributed an alert to warn the medical community of scammers who are trying to capitalize on fears surrounding the virus and its potential spread. 

Outside of websites, texts, and social media posts advertising fake products, cures, and false information, physicians and their staff should be aware of phishing emails circulating throughout the healthcare industry, among others.

Once the malware from these specific email scams are activated by clicking on links or downloading attachments, it uses your computer to spread the email to others. It also harvests your network access credentials. Finally, it snoops through your network looking for files of interest and then uploads them to the hacker's servers. 

Acentec and the Federal Trade Commission offer the following tips to keep your practice protected from malicious malware attacks that, like other cyberattacks, could be unimaginably detrimental to your business.

  1. Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. Read the URL of any website link. A dot ORG domain can be purchased by anyone. A dot GOV URL is only available to government facilities.
  2. When examining the URL, be sure to read the ENTIRE string. We're seeing attacks now where the actual destination domain is towards the end of the URL string.
  3. Don't open attachments that you weren't expecting, even if they come from someone you know and trust.
  4. Don't click on links from sources you don't know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.

Information for this article retrieved from the Federal Trade Commission, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/02/coronavirus-scammers-follow-headlines, and Acentec, Inc.

Acentec, Inc. is a nationwide provider of HIPAA compliance and medical IT management services. If you have any questions about this article or would like recommendations, please contact him for a free consultation at 800-970-0402 or jeffm@acentec.com

The information in this publication should not be considered legal or medical advice applicable to a specific situation. Legal guidance for individual matters should be obtained from a retained attorney.