Blake Dowling: Turn it off and become the human firewall for Internet scams

This summer, HCA Healthcare was hacked; 11 million patients were potentially affected.

HCA is all over Florida including HCA Healthcare, Capital Hospital in Tallahassee. I hear their IT team is deep with state of the art cyber protections.

Typically, I reach out and get their input if I write about them. Instead, I’ll leave them to clean up this incident.

WCTV and I talk about HCA this summer.

What they (and everyone) need are answers. What about everyone else if a large company doing all the right things with cyber protection can be impacted? First, the healthcare sector is at the top of the hacker list. If you’re in health care, you have a target on your back. Cybercriminals are targeting you and your data, as well as data-rich schools, cities, and other organizations.

We spoke to WCTV about it earlier this month.

If, as an HCA, you have checked all the boxes to protect yourself. Including implementation of two-factor authentication, encryption, firewall, strong passwords, endpoint detection, advanced threat protection, email attack simulations, and cyber training. What’s left to do?

Google has the answer. Switch it off; turn off the internet.

Guess what? That works.

Hackers have turned the internet and all of our communication tools into a threat delivery system and you can 100% stop it if you turn off the internet. Shady websites with malware, emails with ransomware, messages with gift card schemes, wire fraud, it all stops if you’re not online.

While this may not be feasible for you or me, they are.

The company launched a pilot program this month in which some employees work in an internet-free zone. Healthcare, Google, and other tech giants like Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple are all data-heavy targets.

Literally, they know more about us than we do. But that’s a topic for another day.

Thousands of Google team members will try this no-web approach to reduce cyber-attacks. Speaking of Microsoft, they were whipped this summer by a Chinese government intelligence group called Storm-0508. Reports say the information obtained was in email accounts and unclassified, but the details are now withheld. The bottom line is that they’ve been affected and Google wants to to avoid being on that list and become the next title.

The way their internet blocker works is because they allow their staff to use Google services. They can use Gmail and Google Drive internal file storage and only work in those areas in a Gubble to Google Bubble.

I made up that word; they can use it if they want.

Google is at the top of the pack in the AI ​​race and everything they are working on has high value. Taking this rather drastic step will cause their team some workflow issues, but, in theory, it will stop all external hacker threats.

Kudos to Google for turning off the most obvious Internet threat blocker. I once had a colleague who fretted about computer problems; his advice to customers was: if you don’t want a problem, turn off the internet.

He wasn’t wrong, but his manners and bedside manner were crude. That said, there are no silver bullets to stop hacking; we have to be the human firewall and constantly look for threats.

If something looks fishy, ​​it probably is. Don’t click. Don’t transfer money. Don’t buy gift cards. Do not share your credentials/passwords. Stop and ask for help.

While IT tools, if distributed in an appropriate package, can thwart about 90% of attacks. However, we have to stop and question every email, call, and message to make sure those who get through don’t go out of business.

Or you can turn off the internet; the choice is yours.

Be safe out there and thanks to my friend Ben Graybar for your technical expertise and friendship.

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies in Tallahassee. He can be reached at [email protected].

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