Monday Roundup

On the COVID-19 front

  • Researchers continue to make progress in developing a convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19. Specifically, “Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators have found investigational convalescent plasma to be safe following transfusion in a diverse group of 20,000 hospitalized patients transfused with investigational convalescent plasma as part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s national Expanded Access Program (EAP) for COVID-19.” Testing continues on the efficacy of the treatment.
  • In view of the FEHBlog’s concern about super spreader events, he also calls attention to this Society for Human Resource Management article on thermal scanners. The scanners are an early warning device for use at “airports, sporting events, concerts or food-processing plants.” The particular article discusses the use of these devices by large and medium sized business.

For a change of pace, the FEHBlog takes note of these Wall Street Journal reports from the cybersecurity front

The health-care sector reported far less [cybersecurity] vulnerability than other areas. Health care is sometimes seen as one of the most targeted sectors. Yet, while 63% of construction and infrastructure companies admitted cybersecurity breaches on one or more occasions in the past 12 months, only 17% of health-care organizations said they had been compromised.

“We think the reduction is due to a combination of factors, including improvements in the cybersecurity posture of health-care organizations,” says Dave Wong, vice president with cyber-incident response provider Mandiant, a division of FireEye Inc., “but the behavior of attackers had also changed.”

In 2017, health care was the third-most-targeted sector, according to Mandiant’s annual threat report. By 2019, security improvements and evolution of the attackers’ tactics led to the sector dropping to eighth place. Cybercriminals follow the money, Mr. Wong says, and when fewer ransoms were being paid, they shifted their focus elsewhere. “Ransomware operators previously targeted hospitals knowing that the operational disruption could potentially cost patients’ lives,” he says. “Now, the same ransomware operators target larger companies with deeper pockets.”

  • and a list of five books “recommended by cybersecurity experts” that are accessible to all readers, just in time for the summer reading season. The FEHBlog plans to put at least one on his Kindle.

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