This week, the federal Department of Homeland Security released a warning of potential Iranian cyber-attacks as revenge for the American airstrike that killed Iran’s chief military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The first such cyber-strike was reported on a U.S. government website over the weekend. Hackers attacked the Federal Depository Library Program website, displaying messages vowing Iranian revenge for Soleimani’s killing.
These recent events serve as an important reminder that we all play a part in helping to protect our Houston Methodist patient data and systems.
Think before you click, at work and home.
Never click on a link in an email. Instead, always copy the link in your browser’s address bar or use a bookmark you’ve set earlier. Stay on the lookout for suspicious or phishing emails to help prevent security breaches at work and at home. Phishing is a way of stealing usernames, passwords or other personal information. These emails may say something like, “Your account was compromised” and tell you to change your password.
Protect your mobile devices.
If you have any work information on your personal phone or tablet, it means hackers can possibly use your device as a pathway to Houston Methodist data.
Unless you’re sure it’s a reliable source, don’t download apps that ask to access your device’s data. Mobile apps can contain a surprising lack of built-in security. When an app asks to access your device’s data, it seems easy to just say yes — but don’t. Free apps present a real issue, especially ones offering in-app purchasing and downloads, with malicious software potentially embedded in the downloads.
Use secure Wi-Fi.
Unsecured Wi-Fi poses another security risk. Your device usually picks up the strongest signal — which can be a rogue Wi-Fi that’s actually an attacker waiting to monitor, intercept or even alter communications from your device.
Bluetooth — turn it off when you’re not using it.
Bluetooth comes with some security pitfalls. Hackers can use Bluetooth to spread viruses, allowing hackers to access Houston Methodist information that may be on your device.
Do these three things to keep us safe:
1. Use Houston Methodist email, because it has several layers of security.
2. Don’t open attachments from your Gmail, Yahoo mail or other non-Houston Methodist email when using your work computer.
3. Send suspicious email to SpamSpotting@houstonmethodist.org.