Ransomware: your biggest online security nightmare

Criminals understand our weaknesses and how to exploit them. That means ransomware isn't going away and is in fact increasing even more now that more individuals and business are operating from home. Click the link below to learn more about the need to protect your business from this growing threat. 

Saharan Dust Plume and Its Affect On 2020 Hurricane Season
A massive Saharan dust plume is making its way 5,000 miles across the Caribbean and is expected to hit the U.S. later this week. Click the link below to learn how this might affect the upcoming hurricane season.
If clicking the link doesn't take you to the site, copy and paste it into your browser. 

Wawa Breach Could Jeopardize Data of 30 million+

On Monday, the payment details of more than 30 million Americans were put up for sale online by hackers. This data is consistent with records that were stolen from Wawa last year by a malware attack. 

Wawa disclosed in December that a major security breach had exposed their point-of-sale systems to a malware program that collected customer payment information. According to Wawa's statement, the malware was allowed to operate for months before detection, ultimately being operational between March and December of 2019. 

Wawa has said that the breach impacted each of its 850+ retail locations and could have lead to the compromised data of more than 30 million customers. 

The scale of this breach makes it one of the largest data breaches of all time, rivaling Home Depot's 2014 breach that affected 50 million customers and Target's 2013 breach that exposed data from 40 million customers. 

Read more about the breach here:

University of Rochester Medical Center Faces $3 million Fine After Data Breach

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) will pay $3 million in fines for failure to encrypt mobile devices and other HIPAA violations, it was announced in November. 


With more than 26,000 employees, URMC is one of the biggest health systems in the state of New York. 


In addition to the $3 million penalty, URMC will be forced to adopt a corrective action plan to address all aspects of noncompliance found in the investigation following the data breach.


You can read the full article here:

From Security Boulevard: A Look at Some of the Biggest Data Breaches of 2019

This week, Security Boulevard published an article taking a look at some of the biggest and most impactful data breaches seen this year. 

Included on the list were First American Financial, Facebook, Fortnite, and more. Each of the breaches mentioned impacted hundreds of millions of people and were largely due to simple failures in systems or lack of adequate security measures. 

The article says that each of these breaches was preventable: "... the troubling reality is that most data breaches from 2019, including all those summarized below, could have been prevented with basic security hygeine." 

Read the full article here:

GIS Partner Writes About How Insurance Can Help Businesses Adapt to New Data and Privacy Laws

GIS Partner Philip Gow wrote last week about the importance of staying ahead of data and privacy regulations in ITA Pro Magazine. In his article, Gow writes that businesses can not only put their clients at risk, but also their reputation, if they wait to respond to new privacy laws.

Turning a blind eye, Gow continued, could not only mean facing significant fines from regulators, but creating inefficiencies and long businesses processes to achieve compliance in the future as well.

In order to stay prepared and ahead of regulations, Gow recommended companies start their assessment and compliance process immediately, beginning with a review of their current compliance status. From there, Gow recommended companies recruit outside help and promote a general company culture that prioritizes compliance. 

Read the full article here:

AP Report Discusses Dangers of Combining Prescriptions

A new report from the Associated Press described the risks of taking multiple prescription medications at once. 

For patients who do take multiple prescription drugs, the risks of side effects or negative interactions between medications compounds with each added prescription and one doctor often is unaware of what others have already prescribed for the same patient, the article said. 

Multiple prescriptions can also complicate the diagnosis process for doctors and physicians. “It’s very easy to miss medication side effects because they masquerade as all these other symptoms,” UCSF geriatrician Dr. Michael Steinman said in the article.

This has especially dangerous implications for seniors: about 91% of people 65+ take at least one prescription medicine and 41% use five or more.

Read the full article here:

CDC Report Describes Caregiving as a Growing "Public Health Issue"

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 1 in 5 family caregivers may be in fair or poor health, going on to describe caregiving as “a public health issue of increasing importance.”

Using data from 44 states, researchers found that 21% of more than 252,000 respondents were caregivers who rated their health fair or poor.

Katherine Ornstein, an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City reviewed the findings and said the health care system needs to start thinking about how to support these caregivers. Specifically, they need to consider what resources and training are needed to do the things they have to do.

Dr. Steven Radwany, a professor in the Division of Palliative Medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, also reviewed the report and noted that “we have to have the political will to step up and address this.”

The authors concluded that “the potential for losing informal caregivers because of poor health exists and needs to be addressed to support caregivers and expanded offerings that allow caregivers to address their own health concerns.”

Read more here:

Philly Inquirer Examines the Challenges Unique to Millennial Caregivers

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an article yesterday about millennial caregivers, calling them "a socially isolated group." 

Nearly one in four caregivers in the US belongs to the millennial generation, according to the article. Those caregivers face the same responsibilities of caring for a loved one as other caregivers, often devoting more than 20 hours per week to caregiving responsibilities.

However, the article asserts that millennial caregivers often face these pressures on top of added stresses unique to their generation, including education, career aspirations, managing student debt, dating, and starting families. 

In the article, AARP's director of long-term support and services Rita Choula said that "this particular group of caregivers is socially isolated. Most of their friends are not caregivers, and they often don't feel comfortable putting their burdens on their friends or employers." 

Click here to read the full article:

GIS Partner Writes About the Importance of Gratitude for Health and Wellness

GIS Healthcare Partner Anthony Cirillo published an article last week in US News & World Report where he talked about the value of practicing gratitude during the holiday season. 

In his writing, Mr. Cirillo examined the growing rates of depression in the United States and studies that show gratitude in life can directly lead to better physical and psychological health. "Grateful people experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better and even have stronger immune systems," Mr. Cirillo wrote. 

You can read Mr. Cirillo's full article here: