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Guidance on Managing the Cybersecurity Tactical Response in a Pandemic

HIPAA Journal

Joint guidance has been issued by the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council (HSCC) and the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (H-ISAC) on managing the cybersecurity tactical response in emergency situations, such as a pandemic.

Threat actors will try to exploit emergency situations to conduct attacks, which has been clearly seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, the duration of an emergency will limit the potential for threat actors to take advantage, but in a pandemic the period of exposure is long. The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was declared a public health emergency on January 30, 2020, giving threat actors ample time to exploit COVID-19 to conduct attacks on the healthcare sector.

The key to dealing with the increased level of cybersecurity threat during emergency situations is preparation. Without preparation, healthcare organizations will find themselves constantly fighting fires and scrambling to improve security at a time when resources are stretched thin.

The new guidance was created during the COVID-19 pandemic by HSCC’s Cybersecurity Working Group (CWG), H-ISAC, and healthcare industry and government cybersecurity experts and is intended to help healthcare organizations develop a tactical response for managing cybersecurity threats that increase during emergencies and to help them improve their level of preparedness.

During the COVID-19 crisis, cyber threat actors have...

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