Archives: Coronavirus

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OCR Issues Guidance About Media Access to Health Care Facilities

These days, news stations are frequently running stories concerning people being treated for COVID-19, the providers working tirelessly to care for them, and politicians visiting health care facilities for a first-hand look at the crisis. In response to the media interest, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance on May 5, 2020 to healthcare … Continue Reading

Financial Services Information Sharing Group Warns of Increased Phishing Attacks

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) has warned that financial services firms, and in particular smaller ones, are being attacked at an increased rate during the coronavirus pandemic. According to FS-ISAC, phishing attacks against financial services firms increased by one-third in the first quarter of 2020. In that time period, FS-ISAC identified … Continue Reading

Small Business Administration Loan Portal Compromised

Following the devastating impact of the coronavirus on small businesses, many small businesses applied for a disaster loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for relief. Small businesses that qualify for the disaster loan program, which is different than the Paycheck Protection Program offered by the SBA, can apply for the loan by uploading the … Continue Reading

New York Department of Financial Services Issues Guidance Regarding Heightened Cybersecurity Awareness During COVID-19 Pandemic

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) recently issued guidance to its regulated entities regarding heightened cybersecurity awareness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. DFS described three primary areas of heightened risk during this time: remote working, increased instances of phishing and fraud, and third-party risks. With respect to remote working, DFS noted … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #236 – Foreign Government-Backed Phishing Attacks Pose as Fast Food Chains

Google has warned users in a blog article that nation state-backed hackers are using the COVID-19 crisis to ramp up phishing attempts and, in one example, are posing as American fast food franchises and sending malicious emails with fake offers and coupons to government officials and health care workers. Google has identified over 12 government-backed … Continue Reading

Interpol Issues Alert on Increased Risk of Ransomware Attacks Against COVID-19 Medical Organizations

Interpol has issued an alert to global law enforcement agencies about the increased risk of ransomware attacks on hospitals, health care providers and other organizations on the front line of response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Purple Notice, issued to all 194 member countries, notified them that Interpol’s Cybercrime Threat Response team has detected a … Continue Reading

FBI Issues Warning of Increased BEC During COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 6, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning to companies to be aware of an increase in business email compromises (BEC) entitled “FBI Anticipates Rise in Business Email Compromise Schemes Related to the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Although BECs have been around for years, attackers are using the fact that many employees … Continue Reading

Working from Home During the Pandemic? Turn Alexa and Siri Off!

The transition from work-from-the-office to work-from-home has been rapid during the pandemic. All of a sudden, millions of workers are working from home, while data security personnel were not able to plan and operationalize the transition in an optimal way. Many security measures are being put in place now as everyone settles into the new … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #234 – Children’s Privacy During the Pandemic

Kids are at home all day now, remote learning and surfing the web more than ever before. Parents are working from home too, and understandably are not always able to monitor and supervise their children’s computer use as much as they should or would like to. Scammers, fraudsters and evil doers know this and are … Continue Reading

City of L.A. Email Blunder Exposes COVID-19 Test Results to All Recipients

Although email seems to be the preferred method of communication during the coronavirus pandemic, an error made by a City of Los Angeles employee is one to learn from and avoid repeat. Unfortunately, when emailing COVID-19 results to multiple individuals, instead of blind copying the recipients with the results, a staff member from the City … Continue Reading

Microsoft Issues Cybersecurity Risk Warning and Offers Help to Hospitals During COVID-19 Crisis

On April 1, 2020, Microsoft issued a specific warning to health care entities alerting them that they are at particular risk during the COVID-19 crisis, as threat actors are using the pandemic to take advantage of vulnerabilities while hospitals are focused on responding to the crisis. According to Microsoft “[D]uring this time of crisis, as … Continue Reading

OCR Issues Additional Guidance on HIPAA for Providers and First Responders on COVID-19 Front Lines

On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued new HIPAA guidance to help providers and first responders in its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. OCR’s guidance addresses when HIPAA allows disclosures without patient authorization of identifying health information to first responders – such … Continue Reading

Businesses and Trade Groups Seek Delay in CCPA Enforcement Actions

Recently businesses and advertising trade groups wrote a letter to the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to request delayed enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The letter cited the current health crisis as a result of COVID-19 and a state of national emergency as the … Continue Reading

COVID-19: HHS Issues FAQs on HIPAA and Telehealth to Help Providers Maintain Access to Care During the Pandemic

On March 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued additional guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on HIPAA and telehealth services to help providers furnish care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQs follow and provide further information on the Notification of Enforcement Discretion issued by HHS on March 17 (Notification), … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #231 – Out of Work Because of Coronavirus? Beware of Scammers Pretending to Be Employers

It is an old trick, and one that scammers are once again using following massive lay-offs after the coronavirus outbreak and mandates to shelter from home. The trick is to impersonate an employer recruiting for jobs, or touting the ability to make lots of money while working from home. As the old adage says, “If … Continue Reading

HHS Issues Confusing Limited Waiver on Sharing of Patient Information Following COVID-19

Acknowledging the “additional challenges” on health care providers following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued several waivers for covered entities to address the need to share patient information after the President declared a national emergency concerning COVID-19. One of the waivers issued by HHS is to “waive … Continue Reading

FERPA and COVID-19 Virus DOE Guidelines

The COVID-19 virus is having an unprecedented effect on all aspects of our daily lives, and has hit the educational system especially hard with forced closures and cancellations.  Because educational institutions play such a vital role in our communities, the Department of Education (DOE) recently issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (Guidance) … Continue Reading
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