5 Cybersecurity Best Practices Every Nurse Should Know

nurse cybersecurity graphic

While cybercrime has been rampant across different industries, the health sector is one of the most hit. Hospitals are rich in personal information ranging from social security numbers, phone numbers, health disabilities, insurance details to credit card information. It makes sense that cybercriminals hope to cash in on this information to use it themselves or sell it in the dark web market. This makes it paramount for hospitals to protect their electronic health records now more than ever.

Nurses are at the forefront in handling patient records in hospitals. This makes it a necessity for every nurse to adopt cybersecurity best practices in their line of work. Here are five cybersecurity tips that every nurse should start practicing.

1.  Learn About Cybersecurity

Many cybercrimes happen because the victims were not aware of cybercrimes, and how to protect themselves from malicious people. That is why the number one best practice should be for nurses to get informed on cybersecurity. In fact, being aware of cybersecurity and the best possible solutions should be part of professionalism in nursing. The things that nurses should focus on include:

  • Cybersecurity threats
  • Tricks that hackers use on victims
  • Information that hackers try to get
  • How to protect themselves

It is very important for hospitals to provide this kind of training to all health workers. For organizations that lack this training, nurses have a duty to request it.

2.  Adopt Password Best Practices

Passwords are the gateway to all patients’ information contained in electronic devices. Nurses should protect them very well to ensure that hackers never get a hold of them. Some of the best practices in password protection include:

  • Using strong passwords that are hard to guess: Nurses should combine upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols in their passwords as well as make them longer to create unique passwords
  • Avoid reusing passwords in multiple accounts: If hackers get a hold of the password, they get access to all accounts that have the same password
  • Never sharing their passwords with other people regardless of the level of trust
  • Using multi-factor authentication to an extra layer of protection

One of the tricks cyber criminals use to get information is using phishing emails. This is where they pretend to be someone known to the victim by creating email addresses that are almost similar to those that victims usually interact with. They then lure the victim to click on malicious links or download malicious software. Others call the victim and inflict fear or curiosity to convince the victims to act quickly. This is especially risky for nurses involved in medical writing freelance jobs as they need to exchange an abundance of emails. 

Taking an extra moment to verify the source of the emails can go a long way in preventing cyber crimes. Nurses should look out for alterations in email addresses: most cybercriminals replace .com with .org, which can go unnoticed unless one is careful. They should be cautious when clicking on links. In addition, it is always good to call and verify instructions when they seem confusing or malicious. However, they should avoid calling the numbers provided in the emails and only use those in official directories.

4.  Protect Personal Devices And Accounts

Hackers will go to every length to find a loophole that can give them access to what they want. Most target personal phones and computers in a bid to find something that can help them guess the passwords to work devices. That is why nurses should protect their personal devices and passwords very well.

Personal phones and computers have become a hub for many activities such as banking and shopping. Besides finding clues for passwords, hackers find the sensitive information in these devices is also interesting to these hackers. The more reason nurses should be very careful with their devices and the accounts they open from these devices.

One way to secure your devices would be to use VPN since it secures your data and protects them from external access. You can check a list of the best VPN and find the one that fits you the best.

5.  Be Aware Of Physical Security Breaches

Sometimes hackers don’t use phishing emails or malicious links, they come personally to the nursing stations to find something that can benefit their crimes. They try to gain access to the computers in the nurse stations or steal flash disks that contain sensitive information.

Nurses should be alert to every person that comes near the nursing station. If someone seems suspicious, nurses should take a step to ask them what they want or report the same to the management.

Wrapping Up

Cybercrime is costing people a lot of money to fix the mess. Patients shouldn’t fall victim to such crimes due to nurses’ negligence in health organizations. They should start by familiarizing themselves with matters of cybersecurity. Next, nurses should be careful with their personal devices, use password best practices, be careful when opening emails and be on the lookout for suspicious people in their surroundings.