Cybersecurity advisory for Telework and Telehealth in response to COVID-19

Cybersecurity advisory for Telework and Telehealth in response to COVID-19

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will force many healthcare organisations to consider remote workplace options for their employees (VPN), new ways to interact with their patients (telehealth) and third-party communication (video conferencing/file share).

Some options can be secure when implemented properly, though if implemented in a rush or not properly maintained, may pose a significant risk.

Patients First recommends healthcare organisations explicitly anticipate and mitigate the cybersecurity risks around the use of telework and telehealth solutions.


The following are cybersecurity considerations regarding telework and telehealth in the context of COVID-19.

  • As more organisations use VPNs for telework, increased cyber-risk arises out of targeting by malicious cyber actors.
  • As VPNs are 24/7, organizations must keep them updated with the latest security updates and patches.
  • Malicious cyber actors may increase phishing emails targeting teleworkers to steal their usernames and passwords.
  • Organisations that do not use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for remote access are more susceptible to phishing attacks.
  • Organisations may have a limited number of VPN connections, after which point no other employee can telework. With decreased availability, critical business operations may suffer, including IT security personnel’s ability to perform cybersecurity tasks.

Recently impacted organisations and news:


Patients First recommends the following mitigating actions.

Lastly, Patients First and our cybersecurity partner Medical IT Advisors can advise and respond to cybersecurity incidents, phishing, malware, and other cybersecurity concerns that may disrupt healthcare delivery during this global emergency.