Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Cybersecurity critical for DoD teleworkers during pandemic

Protect your information when you’re teleworking. Telework made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic has increased internet reliance and heightened the need for safe cybersecurity practices. (Photo by Eric Pilgrim)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Cybersecurity Awareness

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the importance of balancing our continued commitment to the military healthcare mission with our own personal hygiene and well-being. As a result, much of the Department of Defense workforce and their family members have taken to telework and online classes. With a high-volume of DoD network users and their families on the internet, we must balance the requirements of the military healthcare mission with that of protecting the network, computers and mobile devices - whether DoD or personal - by practicing good cyber hygiene just as we practice good personal hygiene.  

“People expect to get information on their phones, at home, at work, in multiple ways,” said Servio Medina, one of the Defense Health Agency’s health information technology’s leaders on cybersecurity. “When you increase the venues of access, you could increase the likelihood of risk and unauthorized access.”

That’s why the Military Health System is increasing its efforts for cybersecurity awareness and “healthy” practice. Medina said it’s more important than ever to protect information, especially someone’s personal health information. Protect your family in cyberspace by discussing safe online behavior with them. To help with this discussion, the DHA offers www.Health.mil/cyberfit: plain language and guidance on cybersecurity and internet safety. Family members need to know and practice basic cybersecurity routines such as create strong passwords and connect to the internet only when it’s needed and disconnect when finished. DoD workforce members who are teleworking should follow their organization’s specific cybersecurity guidance.  

“We need to be more aware and savvy of the risks in accessing information, otherwise we could inadvertently contribute to those risks,” he said.  

Medina pointed to phishing as one of the most common methods of breaching data. Scammers pose as a legitimate business to steal information. During this pandemic crisis, hackers are offering fake COVID-19 test kits to patients who respond with their personal information such as social security numbers, bank information or credit card numbers. Legitimate COVID-19 test kits can be ordered by your healthcare providers after an initial screening.  

“People need to understand more than their rights; they need to know their responsibilities,” said Frank Rowland, chief of DHA’s Cyber Security Division. Medina said most health information breaches are due to human error and are preventable. He said people need to change their mindset to be aware of cybersecurity all the time not just once a year during required DoD cybersecurity training. He compared cybersecurity awareness to handwashing awareness and compliance. When hand hygiene procedures are reinforced at hospitals, the number of healthcare associated infections drop.

“Human error data breaches, just like improper handwashing, puts us at risk,” said Medina. “We need to change human behavior so we’re not making ourselves more vulnerable to ‘cyber infections.’” 

Cybersecurity applies to everyone and cannot be considered "someone else's job." From health care providers, who continue to safeguard patient data well after the point of care, to the patient:  it's everyone's job.  Compromised data can adversely impact health care and the patient directly.

Cybersecurity at DHA extends beyond our hospitals and clinics. At home, MHS beneficiaries must protect themselves online and reduce their risk of becoming victims of cybercrimes. A cyberspace threat or breach to one person can affect the health and well-being of the entire family. This can impact military readiness.

Washing your hands regularly helps reduce healthcare associated infections.  Similarly, proper cyber hygiene helps reduce cyber “infections” that can compromise DoD information and information systems.  The COVID-19 pandemic is directly affecting many of us; every one of us can help minimize risks to our military healthcare mission.

You also may be interested in...

COVID-19 leads to innovation in military health care practices

Article
7/1/2020
Man in lab coat and mask prepares sample for COVID-19 testing.

MHS thinks outside of the box to bring care to patients during pandemic

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation

Defending the Homeland: The role of data in the war against COVID-19

Article
6/29/2020
Clinician with mask looks at computer screen at a hospital.

How DoD’s COVID-19 registry supports readiness and health

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

How the military stays ready during disease outbreaks

Article
6/29/2020
Headshot of Dr. Sanchez

A Q&A with a health surveillance professional at Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Coronavirus

Summer PCS plans altered by COVID-19

Article
6/29/2020
Man wearing mask loading boxes into a car

Service members and families have suggestions to keep you safe.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Summer Safety

Defending the Homeland: BACH Civilian earns RHC-A Civilian of the Year

Article
6/26/2020
Soldier and woman standing by two flags, crossed.

[Guidry] will advance to the U.S. Army’s Medical Command (MEDCOM) Civilian of the Year competition later this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support | Coronavirus

DoD trains staff to collect convalescent plasma donations

Article
6/26/2020
A service member donates convalescent plasma at a blood donation center.

Learn about training features, locations, timetable

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

MHS Minute: DoD Focused on COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

Video
6/25/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

Have you recovered from COVID-19, or tested positive for antibodies? Consider donating convalescent plasma. To learn how, go to https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Pharmacy Operations Division (POD) Reverse HPCON Status Guidance

Publication
6/24/2020

Guidance for Outpatient MTF Pharmacies in Response to COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID Pharmacy Guidance

Download Letter to Beneficiaries

Publication
6/24/2020

This message replaces guidance issued on March 31. It explains actions military pharmacies are taking to keep services and visits safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it outlines your pharmacy options as a TRICARE beneficiary.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID Pharmacy Guidance | TRICARE Health Program

Defending the Homeland: Army 2nd Lt. first to donate convalescent plasma at Benning

Article
6/24/2020
Soldier in chair, giving blood

Convalescent plasma contains antibodies to fight the disease.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

DHA’s new MEDLOG IT PMO supports MHS logistics

Article
6/23/2020
Soldiers loading boxes onto helicopter

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the MEDLOG IT PMO provided essential medical logistics IT and supply chain support across the MHS and Department of Defense.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Solution Delivery Division

Tackling mosquitos to protect the force

Article
6/23/2020
Man emptying bag into a helicopter spreader

Mosquitoes transmit a host of woes but not COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Bug-Borne Illnesses | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Understanding the potential of COVID-19 convalescent plasma

Article
6/19/2020
Image of a researcher scanning a unit of plasma in a lab. Click to open a larger version of the image.

Researchers are harnessing the power of antibodies in COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program | Armed Services Blood Program

Public Health Emergency Officers balance risk and mission during crisis

Article
6/17/2020
Military personnel packing sanitizing products

PHEOs are military treatment facility staff who are designated to serve as a resource to help guide installation commanders during a large scale public health incident.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Teleteaching during the pandemic? USU center seeks educators' stories

Article
6/16/2020
Man wearing headphones in front of two monitors and keyboard

Educators faced juggling act on front lines, home front

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < ... 21 22 23 24 25  ... > >> 
Showing results 361 - 375 Page 25 of 36

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.