As the fight against the spread of COVID-19 continues, and South Africa enters its second week of phased lockdown, many of the issues that cropped up over the past month still remain.

One of the more storied is cyberattacks, which has seen a sharp rise as those working from home are seen as easy targets. An equally easy target, but one less spoken about, is hospitals, which is why Dimension Data is now offering free incident response (IR) for hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The firm notes how vulnerable hospitals are at this time, and now more than ever, they need to be safeguarded and kept running as optimally as possible.

“This is not a marketing exercise, a PR stunt, or a grab for attention. We’re offering services that would normally cost between R150 000 to R250 000 per invocation for free because we know the chaos that an infiltrated IT system can cause a business (or hospital),” explains Tony Walt, managing executive for Dimension Data Security, regarding the firm’s decision.

“And we know these incident response skills are not readily available. We have the leverage of our parent company NTT that can help, and all help is needed right now,” he adds.

Looking at the types of cyberattacks that hospitals are having to contend with currently, Dimension Data’s research points to a rise in phishing attempts, with the same holding true for those working and studying from home since lockdown has first announced.

“Right now we’re seeing a steep rise in very targeted phishing campaigns. For example, a hospital staff member may be sent an email by someone pretending to be legitimate. The imposter pretends they’re from the Department of Health offering new information about personal protective equipment, or offering in-demand items like hand sanitisers and coronavirus test kits,” he points out.

Talking through the steps that Dimension Data would take in the event that incident response is needed, Walt says would first trawl through network logs and system impacts in order to identify the cause of the problem.

From there, once the suspicious files have been identified and stopped, Dimension Data can then assist hospitals with the job of getting their services back online again.

Walt also notes that this entire process can be handled remotely too, should there be any concerns about cybersecurity technicians having to be on-site.

“This offer is available to hospitals that are treating Covid-19 patients. We recognise the immense strain they’re under and want to ensure they can stay on the frontlines of this virus without having their IT systems compromised,” he concludes.

This offering began on 20th April, and will remain available for the following 60 days, which means it will elapse around mid-June. Hopefully by that stage the country has been able to flatten the curve.

[Image – Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash]