A phishing campaign targeting the Los Angeles Department of Public Health saw more than 50 employee email accounts compromised and the sensitive information of more than 200,000 individuals was exposed.

In this campaign, the threat actor impersonated a trustworthy sender and emailed a link that directed employees to a malicious website where email credentials were harvested. The website had been crafted to appear legitimate and requested they log in. When their credentials were entered, they were captured and used to access the employees’ email accounts. 53 employees fell for the scam. Their email accounts contained highly sensitive information that could be used for identity theft and fraud, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, as well as financial information and health insurance information. This campaign clearly demonstrates the damage that can be caused by phishing, and how a well-crafted campaign can fool many employees and result in a costly data breach.

While this phishing attack stands out due to the number of email accounts compromised, successful phishing attacks are common in healthcare. Healthcare employees are targeted via email, SMS, and other communication platforms, including over the phone. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a joint cybersecurity advisory about a campaign targeting IT helpdesk workers at healthcare organizations. Cybercriminals call IT helpdesks and impersonate employees to request password resets and enroll new devices to receive multifactor authentication codes. In this campaign, the attackers seek email credentials and then pivot to systems used for automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments to divert payments to their own accounts.

The Los Angeles Department of Public Health phishing attack serves as a reminder of the importance of conducting regular security awareness training. Employees need to be trained how to recognize phishing attempts. Through regular training, employees can be made aware of the red flags they need to look for in all communications and will be conditioned to be always on the lookout for threats and to report any potential threats to their security team. Healthcare employees who receive regular security awareness are less likely to be tricked by phishing scams. Training data from TitanHQ shows that organizations that conduct regular security awareness training with the SafeTitan security awareness training platform and phishing simulations using TitanHQ’s phishing simulator can reduce susceptibility to phishing scams by up to 80%.

The SafeTitan platform allows healthcare organizations to easily create and automate security awareness training programs and to tailor the training courses to different departments and users, ensuring that the training is relevant and focuses on the cyber threats that each user group is likely to encounter. The platform is modular, with each module taking no longer than 10 minutes to complete, making it easy for busy healthcare workers to fit the training into their workflows. The training content is engaging, fun, and enjoyable, and covers all threats and teaches cybersecurity best practices.

Phishing simulations can be easily conducted to test the effectiveness of training and identify employees who have not taken the training on board, allowing them to be provided with further training. The SafeTitan platform is the only security awareness training platform that delivers training in real-time in response to security mistakes, ensuring additional training is provided instantly at the moment when it is likely to have the greatest impact on changing behavior.

In addition to training, healthcare organizations must implement technical safeguards for HIPAA Security Rule compliance. TitanHQ offers a range of cloud-based security solutions for healthcare organizations to manage risks and achieve Security Rule compliance. These include SpamTitan anti-spam software which incorporates AI and machine learning algorithms to predict phishing attempts and dual antivirus engines and email sandboxing to combat malware.  The WebTitan web filter protects against internet-based threats and can be used to block access to malicious and risky websites and block executable file downloads from the Internet to combat malware. Healthcare organizations that use Microsoft 365 can improve phishing protection with PhishTitan – a next-generation AI-based anti-phishing solution that offers unmatched protection against phishing and allows rapid remediation of phishing threats, preventing phishing attempts from compromising multiple email accounts.

All TitanHQ solutions are quick and easy to implement and use and can help healthcare organizations achieve and maintain HIPAA compliance, block more threats, and avoid costly data breaches. Contact TitanHQ today for more information about improving your security posture.