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As healthcare workers use their mobile devices more frequently to communicate with patients, smartphone cyberattacks have become increasingly common.

 

SEE ALSO: Why BYOD Protection Is Important for Healthcare

 

Many healthcare organizations use mobile devices to conduct business as it is convenient and cost-effective, but they aren’t as secure as computers. Mobile devices often aren’t protected by encryption, antivirus software, or firewalls. Additionally, security measures in place for workstations and servers may not be available for mobile devices.  Due to these vulnerabilities, hackers target smartphones for malware attacks, and compromised devices could leak sensitive patient information.  

 

SEE ALSO: Texting Tools and HIPAA Compliance: The Ultimate Guide

 

Signs your phone has been infected with malware

 

Often a smartphone is infected with malware without the owner’s knowledge. However, there are some signs to look for:

 

  • Decrease in phone’s battery life
  • Unwanted pop-ups and ads
  • Unusual activity (i.e., unfamiliar app downloads or SMS messages)
  • Excessive data use
  • Slow performance

 

As soon as you notice the signs of a malware attack, the next step is to make sure the malware is removed while protecting your phone from future attacks.

 

How to remove malware

 

While they may not remove all types of malware, it is still beneficial to perform these steps after your phone has been infected.

 

  • Uninstall apps that are not used or unfamiliar
  • Delete browser history and cache
  • Restart your phone
  • Reboot your phone in safe mode
  • Restore your device to factory settings if necessary

 

SEE ALSO: Protect and Secure Protected Health Information (PHI) on Mobile Devices

 

How to prevent smartphones from getting malware

 

Here are some steps healthcare providers can take to protect smartphones from getting malware: 

 

  • Make sure your phone’s software is up to date
  • Use a VPN
  • Require password protection for your mobile device and two-step authentication for any accounts 
  • Only connect to WiFi networks or Bluetooth devices you recognize
  • Download apps from a verified and reputable source
  • Exercise caution when opening links or attachments
  • Do not open messages from unfamiliar numbers or emails

 

Ensuring your software is updated patches any known security vulnerabilities. Additionally, apps downloaded from reputable stores are often checked for malware and viruses

 

The importance of solid cybersecurity protection

 

To protect healthcare providers from data breaches and HIPAA violations, solid cybersecurity protection that includes email security is needed. Paubox Email Suite Plus is revolutionizing how healthcare providers protect themselves against cyberattacks. Our inbound email security blocks adware, spam, and other threats from reaching the inbox. It includes ExecProtect, our patented feature that combats display name spoofing, and Zero Trust Email requires an additional piece of evidence to authenticate every single email before being delivered to your team’s inboxes. Our HITRUST CSF certified email encryption solution enables you to send HIPAA compliant email by default from your existing email client (such as Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 ) directly to your patients’ inboxes, no password or portal required.

 

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