Why Turnkey Installation is the Smart Choice

A turnkey is a type of computer software system built, supplied, installed, or designed to be sold to any customer as a completed solution. It's compared to build-to-order, where the provider customizes the solution to the buyer's exact specification or when an incomplete project is sold with the assumption that the buyer would complete it. In a nutshell, turnkey refers to a solution that's ready to use. It is a reference that the customer, upon receiving the product, only needs to turn it on to make it operational.

Turnkey solutions are reasonable when a business needs a ready-to-go solution that does not need customization. For many small businesses, this is often all they need. For example, turnkey solutions can match the needs of a company whose digital transformation plan revolves around upgrading its technology infrastructure. Instead of doing everything in-house – design, layouts, installation, support, and training – they let an expert company do it for them. This does two things:

 

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An example of a turnkey solution

 SeniorSense by Wytcote is an excellent example of a turnkey software program meant to address the daily needs of senior care homes efficiently. With such a technology, senior care facilities can address all the issues surrounding resident care, staff quality, compliance laws, and legal exposure. It allows these facilities to solve most of their problems in one place. When facilities implement the Wytcote turnkey solution, they can achieve the following in one place:

Things to consider before getting a turnkey solution

Before opting for a turnkey solution, you should:

Benefits of implementing a turnkey solution in your business

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Reduced implementation time

Turnkey solutions are ready-to-go full package solutions that are easily implemented or deployed in a business. Building proprietary computer programs can take a lot of time to complete successfully. Turnkey solutions help you bypass many of such issues. That’s because the implementation time is faster. Besides, the best providers will offer an effective training program to demonstrate how the software will enhance the business operations.

Higher savings

Project fragmentation not only wastes time but money as well. Using senior care homes as an example, a company specializing in fall prevention technology will charge full price for their service. So will a company that does the tracking.

A full-service turnkey software developer will save you money in such aspects. Additionally, since all solutions are handled by one company, you benefit from quicker lead times, discounts, upgrades, and the fact that the invoice is coming from a single company instead of several.

Besides, turnkey solutions are generally more affordable because the development cost is often distributed across several clients. The economies of scale tip the balance in favor of the end-user, providing great value at a low cost.

Consistency in the quality level

You're likely to get consistency in the quality level of your solutions if you're working with one provider than when you fragment solutions. That's because processes, quality assurance, expertise, experience, and infrastructure vary from company to company.

A turnkey provider can set the level of quality needed for your project and guarantee that all their teams will provide the same level of quality. They are often held to a higher degree of accountability because they're fully responsible for any problem that may arise. Moreover, turnkey providers often provide end-to-end service and support to guarantee a smoother process throughout the project's lifetime.

Know what you are getting

Turnkey solutions are tried and tested options that let you know precisely what you are getting. Unlike a custom made solution that’s specifically crafted for a company, turnkey is often designed to cater to a wider scope of clients. This means that it’s easy to seek other people’s opinion regarding the effectiveness of the solution. There are also plenty of reviews and case studies for the solution, which give you a glimpse of what you’re getting.

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You don't have to worry about support.

Technology is complex. When you're using different service providers for different applications, and a hitch happens along the way, who will you call? Even when you know who to call, it's likely the providers will point fingers, and you'll end up wasting lots of time and effort trying to get to the bottom of it.

Turnkey services consolidate all the parts into one solution. In case there's an issue, you have one throat to choke. Think of turnkey as a way to ensure your peace of mind.

High consistency in quality level

Turnkey providers always ensure every moving part in their solution fits and compliments the other for a seamless experience. When you use a turnkey solution from a reputable vendor, you don't have to struggle with merging different parts.

That's because everything is already done for you, and all you're left to do is implement it in your business. Turnkey solutions are easy to install; you need no prior knowledge. To make sure things are easy, we train you.

Easy integration with other technologies

As your company grows, you may need to integrate different solutions into your turnkey computer systems for better service deliverability and workflow. Quality turnkey solutions can allow for a quick and easy integration with other commercial software. This is a great benefit, considering technology keeps shifting from time to time. With turnkey solutions, you never have to worry about being left behind.

Can Blockchain Technology Be Used For Things Other Than Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is perhaps the most publicized use for blockchain technology. Perhaps this is why most people assume that cryptocurrency and blockchain are the same. In this article, we will show you that blockchain can be used for more than just finance and banking. This exciting, new technology has a wide array of applications that extend far beyond the implementation of digital currencies.

 

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and others, merely use the blocks on the blockchain as a means to transparently and securely record a ledger of payments. Blockchain can also be used as a secure way of keeping data about other types of transactions.

 

In theory, people across various industries can use blockchain to store different data points immutably. This could be in the form of votes in an election, financial transactions, titles to properties, product inventories, and much more.

 

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Blockchain can be useful in any application where data security is paramount.

This explains blockchain’s wide adoption in vast industries like healthcare, supply chain, cloud storage and so on. We'll expound on these and other applications of blockchain in this article. But first, let's look at the technology, as it relates to cryptocurrency.

 

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

While people use cryptocurrency and blockchain interchangeably, these two aren't the same thing. Bitcoin was the first example of blockchain in action when it was introduced as an open-source code.  

 

Cryptocurrencies serve as an exchange medium. They are a disruptive fintech designed to make international transactions secure, faster, and easier, by putting control straight into the concerned parties' hands. These digital assets use cryptography and proof-of-work to create global currencies, secure transactions, control rate issues, all while removing aspects of government control.

 

The immutable, decentralized feature has fueled blockchain's adoption beyond its original use of supporting Bitcoin transactions. Here's how blockchain technology can be used for things other than cryptocurrency.

 

Blockchain Uses in Monitoring Supply Chain Data

 

The supply chain industry is challenged with enormous complexity, utilizing vast amounts of data. Information is often fragmented, inconsistently formatted, making it difficult to access or analyze. Blockchain technology seeks to address these and many other challenges.

 

Blockchain integration in the supply chain allows businesses to record a wide range of information effectively from date, price, location, certification, quality and other forms of critical data. This enables a more accurate and transparent end-to-end monitoring. It can also reduce disputes, as well as blockages of assets throughout the entire supply chain. By eliminating paper-based trails, companies can quickly identify inefficiencies and locate the assets in real-time.

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Blockchain integration in supply chain management will help save time and money.

 

Most companies agree that one of the biggest benefits of using blockchain technology for supply chain management is cost reduction. The ability to use real-time tracking in supply chain management proves to be one of the largest sources of cost-reduction.

 

Plus, there are other incredible benefits such as increasing automation through smart contracts, the provenance of tracking, scalability, and security.

 

Blockchain Uses In the Internet of Things (IoT) Systems

IoT is changing the way businesses run through the use of sensors and other edge infrastructure and devices. While a great thing, this poses a unique challenge for companies that have to protect data at all levels of the IoT environment. And with the ever-growing number of connected IoT devices, the need for data security has never been this complex. Blockchain technology is helping businesses resolve the security challenges in their IoT systems.

 

Blockchain combines with IoT to facilitate the machine-to-machine transaction. This blend also provides a range of potential benefits, like allowing smart devices to run autonomously without a centralized authority. It can also monitor how IoT devices send and receive information. The distributed ledger technology with IoT applies in automotive, agriculture, and banking sectors while, also, extending to smart homes, logistics and smart contracts. Blockchain application allows businesses to manage information on smart devices in an IoT system. This lowers costs linked to data transfer and IoT device maintenance.

 

 

Blockchain Uses in Smart Contracts

 

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Smart contracts are transactions that are secured by a distributed blockchain network.

A smart contract is a transaction protocol or computer program meant to automatically execute, document, or control legally relevant actions and events, as per the terms of an agreement or contract. It aims at reducing the need for external enforcement or a central entity as well as fraud losses.

 

Smart contracts use blockchain to capture, verify, approve and enforce agreements between parties. Blockchain-based smart contracts are irreversible, traceable, and transparent transactions. They are immutable, secure, and exist across a distributed blockchain network. Once recorded, it becomes impossible to change, delete or lose an agreement. The uses of smart contracts are vast, but they are common in property ownership and cross-border financial transactions. Other uses include: monitoring origin and the path of goods, banking and credit card services, among others.

 

Blockchain Uses in Cloud Storage

 

Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail are great examples of cloud storage. Many companies are using these and other premium cloud storage services to streamline their operations. Data in the cloud is easy to access, edit and share. It also cuts out the need for physical storage and security. 

 

Blockchain applied to cloud storage breaks down user data into small chunks and adds an extra layer of security before distributing it across the network. This is thanks to its features like transaction ledgers, private/public key encryption, and hashing function. Blockchain stores these chunks of data in a decentralized location. So, when hackers try to access the data, they’ll find encrypted data that’s only in parts. They will never be able to access the entire file.

 

Blockchain Technology in Healthcare

 

There are vast applications of blockchain in healthcare. Uses include protecting healthcare data, point-of-care genomics management, managing electronic medical record data, electronics, and personal health record data management.

 

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Protecting personal health information is one of the main ways blockchain tech can be used in the healthcare industry. It can also be used to track disease outbreaks and enable doctors to monitor patients, remotely.

Specific applications of blockchain in healthcare include:

· Research

 

· Collecting data

 

· Interoperable electronic health records

 

· Mobile health apps and remote monitoring

 

· Tracking outbreaks and diseases

 

· Safeguarding genomics

 

· Health insurance claims

 

· Tracing and securing medical supplies

 

· Data security

 

Blockchain Uses in Privacy and Security of Chats and Media

Media companies are now adopting blockchain to secure intellectual property rights of content, minimize costs and eliminate fraud. Blockchain in Media and Entertainment Market report 2021 by MarketWatch reveals that the sector will reach USD 1.54 billion by 2024. Messenger services are also not left behind. With billions of devices and users, there's an inherent danger of hacks, social engineering, and so on. Blockchain technology prevents identity theft, fraud, and data tampering while also protecting critical infrastructure.

 

How Secure is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain is spreading across all industries far beyond its initial fintech applications. Companies in different sectors are expanding and diversifying their blockchain initiatives. Indeed, blockchain appears to be entering a new era of broader, more practical adoption, even as those who were skeptical start to grasp its long-term potential. So, how secure is blockchain technology?

The demand for blockchain is soaring at an alarming rate as companies see it's potential. Blockchain promises transparency, scalability and, most importantly, security. Let's take a look at the challenges and vulnerabilities of this burgeoning field of technology.

Security by the blocks

The term blockchain refers to a chain of digital blocks with transaction records. Each block connects with other blocks on either side to form a chain. This makes it hard to alter a single record as one would have to change the block with the record and those connected to it to avoid detection. In addition to this, blockchain has other built-in characteristics that offer extra security. These include:

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Cryptography

Cryptography seeks to prevent third-parties from accessing data from private messages during a communication process. Blockchain uses two types of cryptographic algorithms: hash functions and asymmetric-key algorithms.

Asymmetric cryptography (or public-key) securely encrypts messages between two computers. Anyone can use another person’s public key to encrypt a message. However, one can only use a corresponding private key to decrypt an encrypted message.

Paired private and public keys let users send and receive payments. Private keys generate digital signatures for the transaction. Network members then use the wallet's public key to confirm the signature’s authenticity before adding the transaction to the blockchain. After approval, the transaction is immutably recorded into the ledger, and balances are updated.

On the other hand, the Hash function receives data input of any size and returns an output with a predictable and fixed size. Irrespective of the input size, the output will always have the same size. So, for as long as the input remains constant, the resulting hash will be the same. Hashes are used as unique data block identifiers in the blockchain. Each block's hash is created in relation to the previous block's hash, creating a chain of blocks. If someone changes a block, they will also have to change the entire history of that blockchain. The hash identifiers are what make blockchain secure and immutable.

Decentralization

Blockchain technology relies on a decentralized, digitized, and distributed ledger model. Meaning, it distributes data to nodes (users) on the blockchain network. When a user makes a change, the network validates it; then, miners add the transaction into a new block that’s then added to the blockchain. Miners are users rewarded for updating the blockchain.

Decentralization makes blockchain more robust and secure than proprietary centralized models that are currently in the market. If a user attempts to change a single block, they'd need to change the previous blocks before any new blocks could be mined. If not, the nodes would detect the fraudulent behavior and discard the changes. And since thousands of nodes confirm new blocks, it's less likely for anyone to beat their computing power to add a bad one.

Consensus

Consensus is another attribute that makes blockchain technology secure and fault-proof. It involves all peers of a blockchain network coming together and agreeing about the distributed ledger's present state. Consensus ensures that every new block added to the chain is the only version of the truth agreed upon by all the nodes in the blockchain.

The consensus protocol is reliable as it bases on goals like mandatory collaboration, cooperation and participation of every node. It also ensures that every node has equal rights and that a joint agreement is achieved. Consensus is the brain of blockchain. Without it, blockchain would fail. A good example of consensus is the Proof of Work (PoW). In PoW, 'miners' in a network have to provide the computing power needed to verify transactions and maintain the blockchain – which is a lot. They also need to ensure the network's immunity against hackers. Miners compete to chain the blocks together and can achieve that if they get 51% of votes from the nodes.

But the 51% vote is perhaps the biggest threat to this model. If a minority of colluding nodes own more than 50% of the mining power, they will control the network. They could prevent other nodes from adding new blocks. They'd also expose the network to fraud. But the good thing is that consensus is too expensive. It needs lots of energy and computing power to succeed.

Security challenges

Blockchain produces tamper-resistant ledger transactions that make it immune to fraud and hacks. But people with bad intentions can manipulate the known vulnerabilities in the blockchain infrastructure. In fact, they've been successful in a range of scams and hacks over the years. Some common examples include DAO's code exploitationBitfinex's stolen keys, and Bithumb's insider hacks. These security issues have been a point of concern for many businesses that want to explore blockchain technology. Blockchain creates unique security challenges for a range of reasons:

Blockchain security threats

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Blockchain security threats fall into three main groups:

Endpoint vulnerabilitiesthis is where technology and humans meet. Think devices, digital wallets, private key and password, breach, client-side of the application. A hacker can gain access to an account if any of this endpoint is compromised. But the threat is only limited to a victim's account and nothing further. Besides, companies are now using cold wallets along with hardware security models (HSM) that are difficult to compromise.

Untested code: the original code by Satoshi Nakamoto that resulted in the creation of Bitcoin Blockchain is unbreakable. But the same cannot be said for all code in apps built upon the blockchain. Developers who are in a rush to outdo their peers risk producing inadequately tested code on the live blockchain. Considering the decentralization aspect, the risk is higher because of the irreversibility of blockchain.

Ecosystem/third-party risks: the security of this technology relies on the entire ecosystem. This includes other solution providers like smart contracts, payment platforms, fintech, wallets, etc. With other parties in play, a blockchain application's security is only as strong as its weakest link within the ecosystem.

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Does this mean blockchain is not immutable?

No network is 100% secure. And blockchain is not any different. But since the nodes in a blockchain network are distributed, it is almost impossible to alter the chains. It takes a consensus of more than half of the nodes in the same distributed ledger to make any changes. And the fact that all this has to happen within 10 minutes makes it virtually impossible for a hacker to make changes.

Security and privacy

Blockchain technology resolves the security and privacy issues that most organizations struggle with today. Its public key infrastructure maintains the ledger size and prevents any ill-attempts from changing data. Inasmuch as the large and more distributed network makes blockchain more secure, there are concerns around various aspects. For example, by default, the blockchain design doesn't have confidentiality. All data on-chain is visible to all peers in the network.

Blockchain is hard to crack

The blockchain is still in its infancy stages. And like any technology, it is bound to encounter hurdles along the way. But the good thing is that the security issues are addressed quickly. Developers are also coming up with new versions of blockchains to ensure security. Besides, when compared to other technologies, blockchain does a great job storing and exchanging digital value. This explains why health care, supply chain, Wall Street companies, etc., are all adopting the technology.

 

The Future of Healthcare on the Blockchain

Blockchain technology has many applications in healthcare. It can improve monitoring devices, mobile health applications, and clinical trial data. It can also offer a new model for health information exchanges by making electronic medical records more secure, efficient, and decentralized. While not a magic bullet, blockchain technology offers a platform for investment, experimentation, and proof-of-concept testing.

There's so much hype around blockchain. You'd think it is the cure-all technology or one that will solve the chronic data security and interoperability issues that cripple health data sharing. Blockchain will be used to share health information securely and to approve and monitor health data usage. However, the technology alone won't make health data interoperable or ensure data is shared. A lot has to go into standardizing health data formats and coding and controlling data sharing for research and system-wide improvement.

The first blockchain applications will likely handle the secure exchange of well-defined healthcare transactions like tracking the drug supply chain to prevent counterfeiting or settling insurance claims, and so on. But it will take a while to address challenges like interoperability, sharing, and access.

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What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) used to securely record transactions across many computers in a peer-to-peer network without the need of a third party. In the blockchain, every block of data (block) is secured and linked to the next one using cryptographic principles (chain). It's emerging as one of the most promising technologies of the 21st century and is widely applied in healthcare for these reasons:

But despite its potential in healthcare, blockchain remains immature. Gartner's research describes it as a technology in a "hype cycle,” meaning one that's marked with stages of innovation triggers, enlightenment, disillusionment, inflated expectation but ending in a "plateau of productivity." Health blockchain is still in its early days. It cannot be compared to sectors like supply chain, logistics, and financial services that have seen a much faster adoption rate.

Future of healthcare on the blockchain

From biomedical research, to insurance payments and everything in between, blockchain applications will impact almost all healthcare system aspects. This is because the healthcare sector thrives on data generation and sharing. Here is what the health blockchain may look like soon.

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Solution for the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA)

Blockchain's ability to trace and store time-stamped data across a P2P network makes it perfect in solving DSCSA's traceability requirements. DSCSA upholds drug security standards by ensuring that all drugs are traceable from when they leave the manufacturer to the time they reach the dispenser. This is in a bid to boost tracking, detection, and removal of misbranded, counterfeit, or potentially dangerous drugs from the supply chain. A network using blockchain is uniquely secured and could be effective in drug fraud prevention. Today, various trials are underway as different vendors try to craft solutions that meet DSCSA's requirements.

A possible solution for EHRs

Electronic health record management is an important application area for blockchain technology. It deals with data exchanges across various health sectors and ensures to protect the data's source, integrity, and privacy for accurate analysis and insights. EHR is an excellent example of the blockchain-based privacy-preserving prediction model. Facilities are now applying machine learning to study data in their EHRs and using the learned model to predict patient outcome. But since no facility has enough patient records, there's the need to share various data across organizations. However, they have to apply privacy-preserving prediction modeling methods – like blockchain to avoid re-identification and data breach risks. Blockchain stores medical records securely and allows real-time updates. It can also allow secure access for all permissible users.

Solution for medical staff credentialing

Credentialing can be time-consuming and expensive when done through snail mail, faxes, and phone calls. Since blockchain can be approved and updated in stages, it may be a perfect solution in the credentialing process. Credentialing smart contract is an excellent example of a possible blockchain application. A smart contract is a self-executing contract with terms of the agreement between parties written into code lines. It facilitates trusted agreements and transactions to be carried out among disparate, anonymous parties without the need for a legal system, central authority, or external enforcement mechanism. Smart contracts can be used:

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Solution to the need for sharing and privacy

Many blockchain-based features can help facilities strike a balance between privacy and sharing. For years, healthcare organizations have depended on policy to maintain patient data and siloed. But without technologies to resolve the sharing and privacy issues, these organizations risk compromising data. In the coming years, blockchain will take care of such issues, allowing facilities to share critical data without the fear of breach and arising suits. This is thanks to its ability to audit who, when, and where the data is used.

On top of that, the disruptive technology will enable open health data exchange markets run by patients. These markets will only have valuable, verified, and validated data from treatment outcomes, verified diagnostics, genetics, real-world evidence, etc. Permissioned blockchains will allow patients to decide how they want to use their data in exchange for health solutions and compensation.

Adoption of blockchain in healthcare

The perception that blockchain is fairy a new technology and closely linked to the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, hinders its adoption within the healthcare community. Besides, the technology cost can be high. The proof of work, for instance, consumes a large amount of computational power. Again, blockchain doesn't remove or replace modified records but adds blocks to the chain to represent modifications and deletions, which adds to the storage problem.

With that said, blockchain absolutely is a viable technology. And while it could take years for its practical application across the industry, blockchain adoption has already taken off with financial institutions and in dozens of companies. For instance, IBM is using AI to detect patterns with Block Chains to help find treatments or remedies for specific diseases. Mount Sinai also uses blockchain in AI to rapidly read chest CAT Scans of potential COVID-19 patients. There is no telling what the future holds, but we know that blockchain will immensely disrupt the healthcare sector, perhaps for the better.

 

What is Social Engineering? Can it Bypass Great Security

Social engineering scams revolve around the hacker’s use of manipulation and confidence. These techniques tend to make victims act in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t. Usually, victims act the way they do because of heightened emotions, a sense of urgency, and trust.  

Today’s cyber attackers are smart. They know that companies invest millions of dollars in corporate security features. They also know that every organization has the weakest link – human error. That’s why they keep devising clever ways to manipulate people to give up confidential information. Social engineering is one technique that hackers use to fool unsuspecting users into handing over sensitive information, like passwords, banking information and personal information.

What is social engineering?

It is a form of cyber-attack that exploits people through deception and trickery. It taps into human vulnerabilities like trust, emotions, or habits to gain access to networks, systems, and physical locations. Usually, the attackers intend to trick users into providing details like bank account details, social security numbers, or login credentials. But they may also want to access a computer and secretly install malicious software that gives them control over the computer.

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Attackers use social engineering techniques to hide their real identities and motives. They pose as trusted individuals or experts, but their only intention is to influence, manipulate, or trick users into giving up access or confidential data. A majority of social engineering attacks are based on the way people act and think. As such, these scams are particularly useful in exploiting a user’s actions. Once the hacker understands the reasons behind a target’s actions, he or she can effectively manipulate and deceive them.

How social engineering works

Social engineering attacks happen in one or more steps. First, the hackers run background checks to gather as much information about the target as possible. Then they’ll try to win over the target’s trust and persuade them to reveal confidential information. As opposed to violent methods, fraudsters use persuasion and confidence to prompt the victims into taking actions.

In a nutshell, social engineers:

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What social engineering attacks look like?

Social engineering attacks appear as an ordinary text message, email, phone call, or voice call from a seemingly safe source. Ultimately, it ends with the victim’s action, like exposing themselves to malware or sharing sensitive data.

Many people assume that they can tell scams right off the bat, but today’s attackers are much more advanced. They know how to disguise themselves. And, with a couple of details here and there, they can easily gain access to your organization’s various accounts and networks.

As Kevin Mitnick, a former hacker and social engineering expert, once said, “There isn’t a technology today that can’t be overcome through social engineering.” 

Attackers are using social engineering to attack even the most sophisticated systems. In 2016, for instance, the United States Department of Justice fell for social engineering bait that saw a leak of personal information of 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI employees. In the same year, the Democratic National Convention lost over 150,000 emails, thanks to a spear-phishing email that appeared to be a legitimate email from Google. Other famous attacks include Ubiquiti Networks BEC, in 2015, Yahoo hack in 2014, Sony Pictures Hack in 2014, and US Department of Labor Watering Hole in 2013.

Types of social engineering attacks

1.     Email from a trusted source (phishing emails)

Hackers use psychological manipulation to get victims to take different actions. For instance, they may send out an urgent message like this one:

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Most employees will jump into action when they receive such an urgent email from their “boss.” They will even prioritize it over anything else. What’s more, some will proceed with the instructions without asking any questions. Emails may also come from another trusted source – like a friend, industry expert, and so on.

Phishing scams deliberately take advantage of the trust that individuals have in legitimate email owners. Attackers use different phishing methods and platforms, including:

2.     Baiting

In baiting, an attacker leaves malware-infected device where a target can find it. Sometimes, they label it in an appealing way to make it even more luring. When a person picks and plugs it into their machine, they unknowingly infect their computer with malware.

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3.     Tailgating

Also known as piggybacking, tailgating is where a disguised attacker follows an authenticated staff into a restricted area. He or she then asks the employee to hold the door for them, thereby gaining access to the building.

4.     Pretexting

Pretexting involves hackers creating an excellent ploy to try and steal their target’s data. In pretexting, the fraudsters may say that they need some information from their victims to confirm their identity – but they use the information to stage secondary attacks or identity theft. In some cases, the attackers manipulate their victims into doing something that abuses the company’s physical and digital weaknesses.

Unlike in phishing where scammers capitalize on the victim’s urgency and fear, pretexting depends on creating a false sense of trust with the victim. Meaning, the hacker has to build a good story that victims believe.

Social engineering prevention

Security awareness training is the best way to prevent social engineering. Companies should sensitize their teams about social engineering as well as the tactics that attackers use. Employees should know well to delete any requests for passwords or secure financial data. They should also reject requests or offers of help. It’s equally important for companies to update their operating systems and also install firewalls, anti-virus software and email filters.

Be Protected Online: 6 Tips to Protect Cybersecurity For Healthcare Staff

Cybercrime continues to be a significant concern across many industries, and healthcare is among its biggest targets. A 2018 State of Cybersecurity in Healthcare study by Horizon revealed that 100% of web applications linked to critical health details are vulnerable to attacks. Network penetration results also pointed out that cyber-attackers could easily access domain-level admin privileges of most healthcare applications.

The chronic underinvestment in advanced cybersecurity technologies has left many health care facilities so exposed that they cannot even detect cyberattacks when they happen. Since hackers may attack in a matter of seconds, it sometimes takes facilities weeks or even months to detect a breach, contain it and deploy resources to prevent the same attack from happening.

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Online data security is paramount in the healthcare and senior care industry.

Cybercriminals target health facilities for a range of reasons, but the main ones include:

Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that most attacks are about money, and cyber attackers often take the easiest route to assess the data they need. Sensitive data, like medical records are highly valued by identity thieves looking to sell identities on the black market. And since health care facilities are easy target, it explains why they account for 25% of all data breaches annually.

Facilities – including those that specialize in senior care – continue to face threats like:

Although cyber attackers are smart and fly under the radar, healthcare facilities can increase their security fast. Here are some cybersecurity tips for outsmarting attackers:

Install a firewall

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A firewall can protect your facility's network from outside attacks.

A firewall is a firmware or software that prevents unauthorized access to a network – think of it as a gatekeeper. It is the first line of defense against unauthorized access and malicious attacks as it inspects incoming and outgoing traffic to detect and block threats. Senior care facilities can install a firewall at their network perimeter to safeguard against threats and record events to identify patterns and improve rule sets. Firewalls protect networks from worms and viruses along with rootkits and phishing tools.

Update operating systems and software

Most impactful cyber-attacks have one thing in common – they target vulnerabilities in outdated operating systems and software. The Equifax and BA hacks are good examples of successful attacks on unpatched systems. Both these cases were easily preventable. They had access to software updates but neglected to download and install them.

Cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. If a senior care facility uses outdated software or systems, endpoints become susceptible to attacks even from the most unskilled hackers. Luckily, facilities can prevent attacks with regular system and software updates.

Create a strong username and passwords

Strong usernames and passwords are essential to keep the facility’s devices safe. These devices hold information about patients and their prescription drugs, histories, billing, etc., which hackers’ favor.

Senior living facilities need to set solid passwords – those that are free of any identifying information. A strong password should leave out addresses, phone numbers, family names, first names, and real words as attackers easily deduce them. Instead, it should possess a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, random symbols and numbers.

Those who have a hard time coming up with hard-to-crack login information can use online tools that generate strong passwords. Once a password is created, it should not be shared with anyone. It could easily land in the wrong hands, especially since 53% of cyber-attacks are from within. Experts also recommend using a password manager to store all passwords instead of writing them in books.

Use a VPN

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A virtual private network, or VPN can mask your identity online and protect private information.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network built by use of public wires – often the internet – to connect regional offices or remote users to a facility’s private, internal network. It is used by facilities to secure their digital information and internet activity. A VPN can help boost cybersecurity by:

Protect mobile devices

Senior living facilities can monitor and protect facility phones. But it can be a little bit challenging when it comes to individual phones. Older adults who have their smartphones may want to access social media or download stuff, which may expose them to attacks. The same applies to when they need financial assistance from staff members or even strangers. Therefore, it is good to train them on cybersecurity matters to avoid a breach. It also pays to control in-person access so that only trusted members can visit the elderly.

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Mobile devices are popular targets of hackers. Understanding how cybercriminals access your network is crucial.

Maintain good computer habits

Facilities should maintain all IT systems, including the EHR systems, to function correctly and reliably. Maintenance includes things like configuration management, operation system (OS) maintenance, and software maintenance. These involve a range of things, like

Create and maintain backups

Backups are more like the last line of defense – should everything else fail. If the attackers manage to penetrate through all the tight security features, the backup will come in handy. Malware attacks are known to delete or even corrupt files. But backup ensures that information is readily available. However, facilities should check and test the backup device regularly to make sure everything is working correctly. The last thing they’d want to deal with after an attack is to realize the previous backup was months ago.

These are a just few of our suggestions for protecting your data security at your healthcare facility. It may be a good idea to speak with your IT specialist about the steps they are taking to protect your facility's private health information from cybercrime attacks.

 

 

Is Blockchain Just for Cryptocurrencies?

Blockchain technology is an online database that offers information to organizations and enables them to record their transactions easily. The database is encrypted, so all communications are done between the organization and the peer-to-peer network only when it’s veritable.

The technology offers an excellent way to transfer data from point X to Y without worrying about false data being stored in the database because that would falsify the whole chain of millions of instances. Blockchain provides accountability since the transactions recorded pass through multiple-party verification and no transaction in the database can be changed by the parties later on.

What is blockchain technology?

As the name implies, blockchain is essentially blocks of encrypted data stored in a database (or ledger). Many would like to think of it as a robust spreadsheet. A single block of data links to a previous block, thus forming a chain. What makes blockchain unique is the fact that it’s a network of interconnected computers that don’t depend on a centralized entity to execute interactions.

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A central authority manages most databases that keep financial information. But with the blockchain database, the ledger is amended and updated communally by all the computers that are connected in the network. Since the records are held communally, no financial institution or computer is in charge. So, if a single computer in the system gets knocked offline or is hacked, the others can still function without it.

Advantages and disadvantages of blockchain

Pros

Cons

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

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In the context of cryptocurrencies, blockchain features a stable chain of blocks, each with a list of previously approved transactions. The blockchain network works as a decentralized ledger because its run by a network of computers spread worldwide. So, each participant (node) holds a copy of the blockchain data and communicates with the others to make sure they are all on the same page.

Blockchain transaction happens within a peer-to-peer network and is what makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies decentralized digital currencies that are borderless and censorship-resistant. The whole point of using this technology is to allow people – especially those who don’t trust each other – to share critical data in a secure and tamper-proof manner. This is because blockchain technology holds data using innovative software and sophisticated math functions that are extremely difficult for hackers to manipulate.

Is blockchain just for cryptocurrencies? 

One of the first real-world uses of blockchain technology was in Bitcoin, a virtual currency that was announced in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym). But these types of projects are not tied to the Bitcoin network alone. In fact, most blockchains have nothing to do with Bitcoin. Once Bitcoin blockchain had been around for a while – successfully recording all Bitcoin transactions and surviving vast attacks – many entrepreneurs and programmers wondered if the Bitcoin data security design might be applied to create other types of secure databases, unrelated to Bitcoin.

Today, startups, SMEs, and large scale companies across different types of fields are increasingly integrating blockchain into their daily operations. It is now widely used in banking and finance to facilitate payments, improve capital markets, trade finance, deter money laundering, and in insurance. It also has applications in business, especially in areas like healthcare, supply chain management, real estate, media, and energy. The government, too, can use the technology for record management, identity management, taxes, voting, regulatory/compliance oversight and a virtually infinite amount of other types of real-world applications.

Blockchain’s best features for corporations

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The growing applications and use cases of blockchain technology

Healthcare industry

One of the main challenges that healthcare professionals face is to share information across platforms securely. A seamless flow of data between providers could increase the chances of accurate diagnoses and effective treatment. It’ll also lower the cost of healthcare. Blockchain technology allows healthcare institutions and other related parties to share network access without affecting the integrity or security of data.

Critical infrastructure security

The internet infrastructure has proven vulnerable to attacks, particularly when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Since critical infrastructures like transportation and power plants have connected sensors, there’s a heightened risk to the civil society. Luckily, some companies are using the tamper-proof database to share critical information across their networks. Others are using blockchain to offer massive scale data authentication. A good example is using blockchain powered Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) to tag and verify data transactions.

Supply chain management 

The supply chain involves a series of transaction nodes that connect to move goods from one point to another. The technology allows businesses to document transactions in a decentralized record, thus limiting delays, human errors, and added costs. Different companies are coming up with blockchain-based products that enable enterprises to engage clients at the point-of-sale with data collected collaboratively from suppliers along the supply chain.

Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT)

Blockchain technology decentralizes cloud services, therefore increasing security, connectivity, and computational power. This solves the inefficiency problems – especially those surrounding data storage and computational resources – that are associated with launching IoT products.

Blockchain and cloud storage

Companies that provide cloud storage usually keep clients’ data in one secure server, which makes it vulnerable to attacks. Blockchain cloud storage services decentralize data storage, making it less prone to hacks that can lead to systemic damage and colossal data loss. Companies are now providing blockchain-enabled cloud storage to enhance security and also reduce the cost of storing data in the cloud.

Blockchain ensures the security of data. The information stored in blockchain is fully decentralized since it’s kept in multiple nodes across the globe rather than in a single place. This addresses the concern of data protection in case there’s an error or breach. Records that are uploaded in blockchain aren’t accessible to or controlled by an individual. But each party holding the data has a private key that they can use to access the encrypted files. So, even if a hacker gets to access a folder, he/she will only see a partial file –which won’t be useful. That’s why industries, other than cryptocurrencies, are taking advantage of blockchain to enhance their operations.