Healthcare Professionals Secret Weapon to Prevent Password Hacking

Healthcare professionals typically have access to private patient information (e.g. social security numbers), which makes them vulnerable targets for hackers. These cyber criminals can use a stolen social security number to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in profit before the patient ever discovers their information was exploited and takes the necessary action to recover from any damages. For these reasons, it’s easy to see why cyber criminals target them so frequently.1

One Password Isn’t Enough

Most healthcare applications require difficult-to-guess passwords, which is good for protecting personal information. However, the average person manages almost 200 passwords between personal and work-related websites.2 If you’re like most people, managing passwords for all your accounts is nearly impossible and you use a single password for multiple websites. In fact, a study done by Virginia Tech found that 52% of the people they surveyed used a single password for multiple websites.3 But while password reuse is convenient, it can be downright dangerous (e.g. login credentials to a program that contains private patient information).

Between March 2016 and March 2017, researchers at Google found almost 2 billion legitimate username and password combinations on the black market.4 When you consider that the population of the U.S. is just under 330 million people5, the scale of the problem becomes apparent.

The credentials Google researchers found had been stolen during data breaches at major companies such as LinkedIn and Yahoo and were being sold to hackers online. Google noted that a considerable number of those passwords were used for multiple sites. If you use a single password for multiple sites, including for your work apps, a hacker could significantly damage your credit and that of your patients.

Managing multiple passwords is not just a security risk, it’s a tremendous waste of time and money. Yubico, a company specializing in login security, found that people who responded to their research survey spent almost 11 hours per year logging into websites or apps and/or resetting their passwords. They estimate that all of that wasted time costs organizations over $5 million per year.6

Between March 2016 and March 2017, researchers at Google found almost 2 billion legitimate username and password combinations on the black market.4

How to Secure Your Information

Thankfully, several password management solutions such as LastPass, 1Password and DashLane have hit the market in recent years. Password managers are software programs that do the hard work of remembering and filling in your passwords. They also offer other valuable features such as:

  • The ability to securely save private notes and documents, such as photographs of insurance cards, prescription numbers and wi-fi passwords
  • The ability to generate secure, hard-to-remember and hard-to-hack passwords
  • Access to your passwords from any device
  • The ability to securely save your credit card info and fill it in for you when you make a purchase
  • The ability to share passwords with others and revoke access at any time

Password managers also allow you to enable two-factor authentication for extra security online. The passwords you’ve saved to internet browsers like Chrome and Firefox can be easily exported to a password manager as well.

The Benefits of a Password Management Solution

Password managers are easy to set up and use. They include browser extensions (small pieces of software that you can add to your browser) that will allow you to securely access your passwords from any computer, even if you share a computer with other people. And if this sounds too technical, don’t worry. All the major password management companies offer excellent customer support. They can help you get up and running in just a few minutes.

If you need help deciding which password manager is right for you, check out this comparison that Wirecutter recently published.  The major password management companies offer reasonably priced plans and similar feature sets for individuals, families and teams. You have nothing to lose, as they all offer free trials as well.

For the price of a latte every month you can outsource the secure management of all your online credentials with the click of a button. And you can reclaim 11 hours of your life in the process.

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References:

  1. Why Hackers Love Healthcare. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/why-hackers-love-healthcare/a/d-id/1331537
  2. Average Business User Has 191 Passwords. (2017, November 06). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/88475-average-business-user-has-191-passwords
  3. Wang, C., Jan, S. T., Hu, H., Bossart, D., & Wang, G. (2018). The Next Domino to Fall. Proceedings of the Eighth ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy – CODASPY 18. doi:10.1145/3176258.3176332
  4. Thomas, K., Li, F., Zand, A., Barrett, J., Ranieri, J., Invernizzi, L., . . . Bursztein, E. (oct 30 – nov 3, 2017). Data Breaches, Phishing, or Malware? Understanding the Risks of Stolen Credentials. CCS ’17. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://ai.google/research/pubs/pub46437.
  5. U.S. and World Population Clock. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.census.gov/popclock/
  6. Manning, R. (2019, January 26). Yubico Releases the 2019 State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.yubico.com/2019/01/yubico-releases-the-2019-state-of-password-and-authentication-security-behaviors-report/
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