How the Healthcare Industry Is Working to Become Immune to Ransomware

The first known ransomware attack occurred in 1989 and was targeted at the healthcare industry. The attention and attractiveness of healthcare organizations to ransomware hackers have not waned in the decades since. In fact, attacks are growing by 70-100 percent year over year. In 2023, there were over 460 ransomware attacks impacting U.S. health organizations, making it the most targeted industry.

This year, a major attack delayed prescription fillings and led to cash flow issues at facilities across the country. The American Healthcare Association said that 94% of hospitals have reported financial impact from the incident, with some losing upward of $1 billion per day in revenues. Continue reading

The Changing Identity of Identity Management

A key element of the move to zero trust is the use of "strong multi-factor authentication (MFA) throughout their enterprise." While identity management has been indicated by many as the "low hanging fruit" of a zero-trust journey, it is by no means easy. In fact, recent guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) called it "notoriously difficult."

Key challenges to implementing MFA include:

  • Lack of standards - the CISA/NSA guidance pointed to confusion over MFA terminology and vague policy instructions as primary challenges to implementing more secure access. A joint committee of European Union (EU) and U.S. experts addressed this same issue in the Digital Identity Mapping Exercise Report, which aimed to define specific digital identity technical terminology. For example, the group found some definitions, such as "authoritative source" and "authentication factor," are identical between the U.S. and EU, whereas others, like "identity" and "signature," remain only partially matched.
  • Phishing - bad actors do not always hack the system; they hack the process, gaining entry through social-engineering tactics that grow more sophisticated by the day. The CISA/NSA report called on the vendor community to provide MFA services with additional investments and greater defenses against sophisticated attacks.
  • Rise of Generative AI - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working to ensure technologies can determine if a submitted image is legitimate or a hacker's spoof. This "liveness detection" is needed to ensure that a submitted selfie is really a photo of a person, not a mask, photo of a photo, or other technique to try to get past the check.

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How CX Is Driving Government Modernization

Improving the "customer" experience (CX) for citizens interacting with the government has been a focus for several administrations. The reason is that better experience equals improved trust in government. It's critical that our systems live up to the promise of government for the people.

Defining the Pieces of CX

A critical part of getting experience right is understanding the different pieces that make up a customer experience. Words like "experience" and "service" are often used interchangeably when talking about CX efforts, but it is important to understand some key differentiators. Continue reading

The Lesser Known Missions of Homeland Security

The mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is widely understood, "to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values." However, in carrying out this mission, DHS touches a number of areas that may not seem intuitively tied to homeland defense but are nonetheless critical challenges facing the nation as well as agencies across government.

Artificial Intelligence

DHS has a key role in securing the homeland from cyber threats. The department's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the operational lead for federal cybersecurity and the national coordinator for critical infrastructure security and resilience. With this responsibility, CISA and other DHS agencies play a key role in shaping policy and guidance around emerging technology use. Today, they are keenly focused on helping agencies safely and ethically use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve mission effectiveness.

DHS is leading by example. AI is currently being used to aid border-patrol efforts, combat drug trafficking, and create age-progression estimations of missing children. While implementing AI itself, DHS is also focused on how adversaries may use AI and creating ways to defend against the technology being used to spread disinformation, create more advanced cyber attacks, or speed the development of weapons. Continue reading

Beyond Facial Recognition: Growing Applications of Biometrics in Government

Biometrics are more than facial recognition. Biometrics include all types of biological markers that can be used for identification. Fingerprints pre-date the use of facial recognition and today the practice continues to evolve to use other biological data for a wide variety of use cases.

Tapping into wearable data for first responder safety

The Department of Homeland Security recently funded several startups that have developed innovative monitoring technologies that can be used to protect the health, safety and mental well being of police officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders. These solutions include: Continue reading