Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

6/18/2020
05:50 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Healthcare CISOs Share COVID-19 Response Stories

Cybersecurity leaders discussed the threats and challenges that arose during the pandemic, and how they responded, during a virtual roundtable.

A few months ago, security leaders around the world faced an unprecedented challenge in addressing threats and challenges related to a global pandemic. In the healthcare space, CISOs juggled a spike in cyberattacks, newly remote employees, and securing healthcare institutions. 

For Mike Gregory, CISO at Community Healthcare System, Northwest Indiana, the biggest problems were strategic.

"It was just triage after triage," he said during a virtual roundtable of healthcare CISOs hosted today by Proofpoint. The security team was working to protect remote employees, ensure hospital providers could do their jobs, monitor threat intelligence feeds, and keep up with essential operations.

The transition to remote work was significant. CISOs faced challenges related to endpoint protection, establishing virtual private networks, and training employees in security practices. Gregory's team was tasked with extending infrastructure out to the remote workforce and coping with remote filtering, he said. Without a large gateway, they couldn't monitor all of their activity, such as websites they visit or activities they're running that could distract from their work.

Roughly 40% of the workforce at Seattle Children's pivoted to remote work as a result of the pandemic, said CISO Gary Gooden. When they did, he said, the organization provided end-user training for certain types of roles depending on how that person interacted with their email.

The auditing department and executive leadership, for example, were trained in recognizing threats to improve awareness of malicious emails they might receive. Most of the attacks in the environment targeted accounts payable, specifically getting them to change payment data. In addition to raising awareness, Gooden implemented a system of checks and balances: If there is a request to change payment info, it's verified with phone calls and additional documentation.

Email-based threats like business email compromise (BEC) and phishing campaigns were most common during the pandemic. "We saw an exponential increase in that type of activity," said Gooden of BEC.

Panelists spoke to spikes in phishing attacks and COVID-19-themed attacks. At Community Health NW Indiana, remote employees were targeted in their personal email accounts and several were being attacked by ransomware, Gregory noted.

"We do this every day, but this was an escalation point," he said. "Who do you rely on when you have so much threat intelligence coming to you? Who do you really want to rely on? You can't possibly monitor all that traffic coming to you." 

Prioritizing Projects: Telehealth, New Tech 
Along with the transition to remote work, CISOs accelerated other projects to respond to the pandemic. Back in March, Gregory said, his team stopped nearly every project in mid-implementation to prioritize what the system needed. For example, because hospital patients were required to have their temperatures taken, the team quickly contacted vendors, began installing thermal scanners at critical entry points, and deployed nursing staff where needed.

Plans were in place to implement telemedicine at Community Health NW Indiana, said Gregory, but COVID-19 made it the top priority.

"We had some planning, but we did a whole lot of scrambling to get out telemedicine, strategize, get the equipment, get those cameras out there, install them, connect to EMR, synchronize the platforms … all of that was a pain point," he said. It was successful, he said, but they could have done more preplanning to prioritize it.

Gooden said the same of a heavy technology roadmap implementation, which was slated for Seattle Children's. While he wouldn't have done anything differently, he said, it could have been done faster.

"It's more about the speed we can accelerate to put things in place that need to be put in place," he added.  

Response Insights
When the pandemic started, Community Health NW Indiana's security team created a twice-daily check-in with directors to report on system capacity, availability, and security, said Gregory. This led staff to be more attentive toward small issues that needed to be addressed quickly. The communications became a source of information to share with remote workers. 

Two things became obvious as Seattle Children's started to adjust amid COVID-19, said Gooden. One of these was siloing within the IT organization, which they made efforts to change as they moved toward a security-defined set of processes. The more robust a security operation is, he said, the easier it is to provide services to users in an unfettered manner.

Another was a "huge uptick" in a need for robust third-party vendor risk management, which he noted they are focusing more on as a result of this experience.

Related Content:

 

 
 
 
 
Learn from industry experts in a setting that is conducive to interaction and conversation about how to prepare for that "really bad day" in cybersecurity. Click for more information and to register for this On-Demand event. 
Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.