In today’s digital era, healthcare organizations are faced with an array of cybersecurity challenges, one of which is phishing attacks. These malicious attempts can have disastrous consequences, ranging from data breaches to financial losses and reputational damage. It’s critical for healthcare leaders to equip their teams with the tools and knowledge needed to identify and ward off such threats. This is where the SLAM method comes into play—a simple yet effective strategy to analyze emails and ensure they’re not phishing attempts.
SLAM stands for Stop, Look, Ask, and Manage, and involves four key steps to verify the Sender, Link, Attachment, and Message of an email. Let’s delve deeper into what the SLAM method entails and how it can safeguard your healthcare IT systems.
Stop: The First Line of Defense
Upon receiving an email, especially one that looks suspicious or requests sensitive information, the first step is to Stop. This means taking a moment to pause and scrutinize the email before taking any action. The urgency to act quickly often leads people to become victims of phishing attacks. Train your staff to resist the impulse to click on any links or download attachments until they have conducted a thorough review.
Stringfellow clients get another layer of protection from our security protections and software solutions. If you don’t feel comfortable with your provider, contact us and let’s talk about what we do.
Look: Verify the Sender and the Link
Verify the Sender
The second step involves Looking at the sender’s email address. Phishers often use addresses that resemble those of legitimate organizations but have slight differences, such as missing letters or additional characters. Take note of the sender’s domain name and ensure it matches the one you’re familiar with.
Verify the Link
The second aspect of Looking is to hover your mouse over any links in the email. This will show you the URL the link is directing to, allowing you to verify its legitimacy. Again, slight deviations from a known URL can be a red flag.
Stringfellow clients have another layer of protection in what we offer our healthcare clients in the correct setup and configuration of the right tools and security. We verify links and senders and put live messages on your email, which I’ve seen setup wrong and be annoying in many instances with new clients. If your link and sender verification is broken, reach out and let’s talk!
Ask: Seek Confirmation
If you’re ever uncertain about an email’s authenticity, the next step is to Ask. Consult with your IT department or directly reach out to the supposed sender (via a different method) to confirm if the email is legitimate. Never reply to the suspicious email for verification, as this can make you vulnerable to further attacks.
We are always here for our clients, and we get calls every day from people asking us to confirm if an email is legit or not. Even further, we offer security awareness training, so managers and leaders can feel secure knowing their whole staff is trained up and ready to talk about emails with each other, including calling us if they need to. If you aren’t getting training and can’t call your techs to ask about emails you find suspicious, that’s a major problem we can help fix.
Manage: Report and Delete
Finally, if you identify an email as a phishing attempt, Manage the situation by reporting it to your IT department or using any reporting tools provided by your organization. Make sure to delete the email from your inbox and from the deleted items folder to eliminate any risks.
And whatever you do, don’t forward the email to anyone else. That might make you the sender of phishing emails and you don’t want to do that. You could get flagged and reported, which could lead your company to be on a spam list. If you’re already on one, reach out to us and we can help get you off it.
Why SLAM is Crucial for Healthcare Organizations
Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to phishing attacks due to the wealth of sensitive information they hold. Implementing the SLAM method is a simple yet highly effective way to add an additional layer of security to your IT systems.
- Educational Training: Regular training sessions can help educate your staff on the SLAM method, reducing the risk of falling victim to phishing attempts.
- Data Integrity: The SLAM method ensures that sensitive patient data remains secure, which is vital for maintaining trust and compliance with HIPAA regulations.
- Financial Security: Phishing attacks can lead to financial fraud. SLAM acts as a preventative measure, protecting both the organization’s and patients’ financial data.
In a sector as critical and sensitive as healthcare, falling victim to phishing attacks is not an option. By incorporating the SLAM method into your cybersecurity strategy, healthcare leaders can empower their staff to become the first line of defense against these malicious attacks.
Not only does the SLAM method help in maintaining the integrity of sensitive data, but it also fortifies your organization’s reputation as a secure and reliable healthcare provider. And as we all know, in healthcare, trust is not just a word; it’s a responsibility.
For more insights on how to safeguard your healthcare IT systems and best practices in healthcare technology, reach out and book a discovery call with us.