Telehealth and the COVID-19 pandemic
Social distancing and many other major measures are being adopted to combat the pandemic, and telehealth is stepping to the forefront of the battle, it is key for safe and efficient communications. Recently, The World Health Organization (WHO) named telemedicine as one of the essential services in “strengthening the Health Systems Response to COVID-19” policy. A new WHO policy states that telemedicine should be one of the alternative models for clinical services and clinical decision support. Remote health services can serve many benefits, with the largest being the protection of health workers. Around a third of physicians are 55 years old or over. The healthcare professionals on the front line of the fight are the most vulnerable, therefore telemedicine and telehealth can massively benefit these workers by protecting them from this deadly virus, along with the already proven benefits.
Telehealth can directly aid with flattening the curve of demand on healthcare systems internationally, slowing down the transmission of the coronavirus and spreading incidence over a longer time period. Nearly all telehealth providers have already faced a large increase in the demand for their services. Telehealth can be very useful for those who have presented COVID-19 symptoms and therefore have to self isolate, it would allow for them to get access to the help that they require without leaving their home. It will also be useful for the most vulnerable in our society who may be shielding/
As many large companies and hospitals are suffering from cyber attacks, cybersecurity is a worry for many people, therefore the secure exchange and storage of telehealth data is one of the main priorities for everyone. Whilst no technology solution is perfect, the benefits that telehealth will provide in the fight against the Coronavirus is unmatched.
How you can slow the spread of coronavirus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
Vaccine rollout spurring dark net activity, McAfee finds
A report by security software company McAfee has found a huge rise in the availability and demand for illegal COVID-19 vaccines.
The research by McAfee Advanced Threat Research found evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are currently available on at least a dozen dark net marketplaces. Vaccines allegedly made by Pfizer-BioNTech are being sold for $600 to $2,500 per dose, with vendors using channels such as Wickr, Telegram, WhatsApp and Gmail to advertise and communicate.
Some of the supposed vaccines are imported from the US, while others are packed in the UK and shipped all over the world, according to the listings.
Moderna vaccines, potentially fraudulent antibody tests and fake vaccine cards are also being increasingly sold on the dark web, on at least 10 different underground markets.
Anne An, senior security researcher at McAfee’s Advanced Programs Group, told us that with the increased global demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, the demand for illegal vaccines, fake test results and vaccination record cards has also grown. "Consumers who are buying these items pose a serious threat to public health and spur the underground economy" she said.
"Opportunistic cybercriminals capitalise on public interest in obtaining a COVID-19 immunity passport. These bad actors can also benefit by reselling the names, dates of birth, home addresses, contact details and other personally indefinable information of their customers."
As well as cyber security measures, An says education is necessary to stem the rise in these illegal sales. "Dark net selling of illegal COVID-19 vaccinations, fake test results and vaccination record cards is both a cybersecurity issue and an educational issue.
"On the one hand, channels being used as a means of business have the responsibility to monitor and mitigate cybercriminal activity on their platforms. On the other, the ongoing efforts of government and medical officials to provide factual information on COVID-19 and vaccinations is critical to discouraging the demand for fraudulent alternatives."
Read McAfee's report Fool’s Gold”: Questionable Vaccines, Bogus Results, and Forged Cards