COVID-19 has created a paradigm shift in how healthcare providers think about privacy and security. The pandemic has triggered a wave of cybersecurity threats, a recent survey by Black Hat found. 94% of those surveyed in the recent poll suggested that COVID-19 has increased the cyber threat to enterprise systems and data.

“Cybersecurity experts have serious concerns about the huge changes affecting IT infrastructure and data security around the world, including US critical infrastructure and their own enterprise networks,” wrote Black Hat representatives after a recent survey.

“And most of the respondents to the 2020 Black Hat USA Attendee Survey are worried about the state of the cybersecurity community as a whole – and about their own states of health and mind,” report authors said.

The experts who were surveyed said that changes due to the need to social distance was a source of potential threats, with 72% saying quarantined home workers could expose the systems to risk by breaking policy and not reporting cybersecurity threats.

Two-thirds, meanwhile, said they believed current remote-access systems were “never built to carry such a level of secure data. Increased phishing and social engineering threats also rank highly” among top COVID-19-related security concerns, the report noted.

“Security experts also predict that cyberattackers, seeking to take advantage of a rapidly restructured line of communications, will continue to launch many new exploits that leverage the crisis,” they added.

The rapid rollout of telehealth services, for example, is a huge security issue especially considering that bad actors are on the lookout for such opportunities.

“Any time you make a change to an IT environment, you have the potential to increase risk,” Andy Riley, executive director of security strategy at the managed-security-services vendor Nuspire, told Healthcare IT News. “When you introduce rapid change, that potential goes up rapidly.”

According to the survey, 84% of respondents believe that changes to cyber operations and threat flow will linger after the coronavirus crisis passes.

“I think that this pandemic will change the way we work, socialize, and communicate because we will feel more comfortable communicating online instead of in-person,” said one respondent, according to the report. “Even when we get back to ‘normal,’ we will feel more comfortable using technology for most things than we did before. As for cybersecurity, we will be at greater risk.”

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