Bill Lockwood, Chairman/Publisher
Bill Lockwood, Chairman/Publisher

THE INTERNET IS SOMETHING WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT these days. In that sense it is our friend. On the other hand, it is becoming our foe as well. Here I am referring to cybercrime, which is increasingly becoming a real threat to all of us.

Health systems in particular have been the target of cybercrime and ransom demands, the latter paid in order to reclaim data files. The point is that there is vulnerability in the data stored in servers. The hackers are having a good time of it and raking in some large sums in the process. Bitcoin is the currency required, since it is difficult to trace.

There was an interesting article in the June 7 issue of The New Yorker about cybercrime and the use of negotiators to reduce the amount of the ransom demand. No one
is immune. Vaccine manufacturers, research labs, and hospitals have all had their computer systems compromised.

The FBI advises not to negotiate, but the fact is that this just isn’t practical. The alternative is to rebuild, a costly undertaking by itself. The big “hits” make the news, but small companies are being hacked as well, which we don’t hear about. My message to pharmacy is to be on the alert. That’s all your pharmacy needs is a cyber attack. It might pay to look into cyber insurance as a safety net.

DarkSide, the group behind the hacking of Colonial Pipeline’s system, has since showed a benevolent streak in saying it would not attack schools, hospitals, funeral homes, or nonprofit organizations, according to The New Yorker article. That’s nice of them. I guess they figured these prospects don’t have the deep pockets to pay an outrageous ransom demand.

A June 9 special report in The Wall Street Journal on cybersecurity stated that hackers use AI to scan social media accounts. What you post to Facebook can increase your vulnerability as well as your company’s. The report’s advice is to stop posting private information such as details about family members or news about a work project

on public platforms. One of the easiest ways for hackers to invade your company’s network is to compromise your email account. Beware of phishing messages. The article also states that not everyone who reaches out with a friend request or invite on social media is whom they claim to be. It just pays to keep your guard up.

The cybercriminals have found a way to monetize the internet in a big way. This is something to take seriously. Do what is necessary to avoid being a victim. CT

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