Rising cyberattacks have already been a point of immense concern and the recent incident of the AIIMS security hack has left the nation wondering if our data is secured at all. On 23rd November 2022, AIIMS faced an unprecedented online breach of security that led to the shutdown of its main and backup servers.
The hospital’s e-services portal was hacked exposing patients’ databases to hackers. The entire patient data system including the data on OPD and sample collection services came under the breach. This unwanted exposure has put a question on protecting patients’ information regarding medical and financial status.
AIIMS has declared that, since the incident, all records are run manually and the investigation on the massive cybercrime is carried out by the Delhi Police.
Now, the primary question is how we can save our data and ourselves from such violent cyber threats and prevent a situation like AIIMS. The answer might be in understanding the term Cyber Hygiene.
So, let us know what actually happened during the data breach of AIIMS, what is cyber hygiene and how maintaining cyber hygiene can prevent such cyber crimes.
How the cyber security of AIIMS was compromised?
At 7.07 am on 23rd November 2022, the last transaction on the AIIMS server was recorded. Immediately after that, the server started malfunctioning and was compromised. Two email addresses were used by the hackers to send Ransomware to the AIIMS system.
This left all the servers under the AIIMS system unusable and led to the exploitation of millions of data of patients and healthcare workers, as well as administrative records. Since then, AIIMS has been struggling to fix the servers and get them running, and they have been manually maintaining the records.
What is Cyber Hygiene?
Alternatively known as digital hygiene, cyber hygiene is practicing a few online habits regularly that will improve your online security system. If you can maintain a routine for these cyber security precautionary practices, then you can check online violations in a few easy steps.
These so-called ‘good habits’ may be setting a reminder for regular password changes, software updating, or a regular virus scan. Some problems you face without maintaining cyber hygiene are:
- Online security breaches occurred due to phishing, malware, or viruses.
- Hacking or corruption leads to data loss.
- Old software versions are much more prone to online attacks.
- Old versions of antivirus software give less protection against cyber threats.
How can you maintain cyber hygiene?
Here are some tips for you to maintain your system’s cyber hygiene and prevent any huge loss like that faced by AIIMS:
1. Installing antivirus and malware software
To ensure the security of your computer, you need to regularly scan, detect and eradicate security threats. For this, you need antivirus software installed on your machine that will help you detect and prevent malware or software viruses and keep you updated about your system’s security status.
2. Updating regularly
Regularly updating any gadget whether it is your smartphone apps, operating systems or web browsers, ensures that you have the access to latest protections. Updated software means that there is a possibility of security patches with it which can address security flaws in the software.
The latest updated versions of cyber protection software are capable of fighting newer versions of software viruses promising better protection.
3. Choosing a strong password
A primary step to maintaining software hygiene is to choose a strong password for devices and accounts. Setting strong passwords and changing them regularly is essential to prevent hackers from guessing them.
For example, password settings for your Wi-fi connectivity, computer, smartphone, or online accounts are particularly important to keep hackers away.
4. Using multi-factor authentication
Some online accounts like internet banking accounts and email accounts are very essential to be secured. Here, two-factor or multi-factor authentication must be the preference to sustain a much more effective protection policy. Multi-factor authentication typically involves two or more security steps while two-factor requires two layers of security passages.
For example, two-factor authentication may involve a password as well as a Unicode sent to your phone inbox and a multi-factor authentication system may require facial or fingerprint verification.
5. Taking back-ups regularly
In the face of a security breach, if you have backups for your files then you can have them as it was before the breach. This may save your important files even if there is a security breach. Maintaining backups for your data on external hard drives or storing it in the cloud is a beneficial form of cyber hygiene.
6. Securing wireless connectivity
Wi-fi connectivity is a mode that most hackers want to get through due to the wide access it can achieve for them. Thus, it is essential to secure your wireless connection while the initial setup is done for the router.
The first step should be to update your default username and password settings to prevent hackers from gaining easy access to the network. Also, routers that offer WPA2 and WPA3 encryption can provide the highest security standards.
Cyber hygiene can be termed as the easy solution to a difficult problem. Cyber security might be a huge issue in the current scenario but maintaining cyber hygiene can save you from disasters like AIIMS.
The above-mentioned cyber hygiene habits may help you to keep your data secured and provide secured online access. So, as it may sound cliche but it is always better to choose prevention over cure. Hence, maintain your cyber hygiene before you have a dirty encounter with cyber threats.
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