FBI Issues Alert Regarding Cybercrime Threats to Health Care Providers and Entities

Last Updated: Nov 2, 2020


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued a joint advisory warning health care entities of imminent cybercrime threats. The advisory was first issued on Oct. 28, 2020.

Access the cybersecurity advisory here.

Citing credible information that cybercriminals are taking aim at health care providers and public health agencies as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches new heights, the three federal agencies are specifically warning the health care sector of possible ransomware and malware attacks.  

What Precautions Should Health Care Facilities Take?

Hospitals, physician practices, and public health organizations should take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats. The agencies recommend several mitigation steps and best practices for health care entities to take to reduce their risk, including the following:

  • Patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as manufacturers release updates.
  • Regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts and avoid reusing passwords for different accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication where possible.
  • Disallow use of personal email accounts
  • Disable unused remote access/Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports and monitor remote access/RDP logs.
  • Identify critical assets; create backups of these systems and house the backups offline from the network.
  • Set antivirus and anti-malware solutions to automatically update; conduct regular scans.

Additional Information

For additional information, please refer to the Joint Cybersecurity Advisory issued by the FBI, CISA, and HHS.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society offers this Quick Consult fact sheet with cybersecurity tips for practices

Additionally, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have also created two resources to help physicians and hospitals guard against cyber threats. Those resources and additional cyber security information can be found on the AMA’s cybersecurity webpage.


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