PH hospitals strengthen cybersecurity during COVID-19

Amid the ongoing global pandemic, Philippine hospitals engaged in COVID-19 response now also face cybersecurity threats with cyber criminals exploiting the pandemic to contrive their cyberattacks and take advantage of vulnerable systems during this time.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) recently raised alerts on cybersecurity threats, specific to targeting hospitals. In a COVID-19 Czech Republic hospital which is a testing center for COVID 19, for instance, a cyberattack forced the facility to shut down their systems, causing delayed surgeries and forcing them to move some patients to other hospitals.

To prevent disruption in local hospitals, the Cybersecurity Bureau of the DICT then urged hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide to employ emergency backup systems for operational continuity for both databases and infrastructure in case of outages caused by malware or cyberattacks.

PLDT Enterprise, through its ICT arm ePLDT Inc., has announced a free three-month cyber threat monitoring and response solution, powered by the ePLDT Security Operations Center to healthcare centers and hospitals in the country, starting with Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI) hospitals.

“There is an urgency in strengthening the medical facilities’ cyber security especially as they combat COVID-19. Our partnership with MPHHI Hospitals by equipping them with these services for three months ensures unhampered operations during this critical time,” says Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups.

West Metro Medical, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Hospital, and Davao Doctors Hospital, and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, to name a few, are availing of cybersecurity services offered for free by PLDT Enterprise and ePLDT.

According to Angel Redoble, First Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer of ePLDT Group, PLDT Group & SMART, there are many benefits offered by this service to MPPHI Hospitals. “The solution helps identify and verify attacks that are not detected by traditional firewalls. It quickly remediates attacks before they cause damage or disruption. It also assists their internal IT in supporting uptime and resiliency of critical systems in the face of cyber threats. This system is enrolled remotely to comply with the quarantine.”

With COVID-19 being a priority for all hospitals domestically and globally, PLDT Enterprise and ePLDT offered the SOCaaS service free for 3 months so they can be worry-free when it comes to cyber security threats during this critical time. The free service has also been extended to other industries such as government and manufacturing, to name a few. 

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