Coronavirus Update for May 13, 2020

Coronavirus Update for May 11

Your Coronavirus Update for May 13; stay informed with Elite.

More than 4.1 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, including nearly 300,000 deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 1.3 million positive COVID-19 patients and more than 80,000 deaths.

Increased Virtual Healthcare Services Raises Privacy & Security Concerns

Cyber criminals have taken an increased interest in hacking into online meeting platforms such as Zoom as the COVID-19 pandemic has lingered and more people have been using these digital options for personal and professional purposes. As individuals continue to utilize technology for everything from family gatherings and business meetings to school classrooms and healthcare visits, the FBI is recommending that due diligence be exercised and caution be a top priority when engaging in this type of technology. 

The following is a list of some steps that can be taken to mitigate cyber security threats, especially when an administrator has the oversight of a tele-conferencing account that involves many participants:

  • Do not make meetings public. Require a meeting password whenever possible and do not use passwords or other identifying meeting numbers more than once. 
  • Do not share a link to an online gathering on an unrestricted, publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people only, via email and/or phone.
  • Restrict screen-sharing options as much as possible.
  • Ensure that users are using the most updated version of any remote access/meeting applications so that the most recent security updates are being implemented. 
  • Create a tele-work policy or set of guidelines that address requirements for physical and information security.

In early April, officials with Zoom.com announced a stoppage in the development of new features to their software so that more focus could be placed on safety and privacy issues. According to reports, a new level of encryption will be introduced across the platform as of May 30, which is expected to “provide increased protection for meeting data and resistance against tampering.”1

Other steps that Zoom officials say they have implemented to help protect data include:2

Audio Signatures: User’s personal information is embedded into the audio as an inaudible watermark if they record during a meeting. If the audio file is shared without permission, officials will help to identify which participant recorded the meeting.

Watermark Screenshots: Superimposed images, consisting of a portion of a meeting participant’s own email address, are placed onto the shared content they are viewing and the video of the person who is sharing their screen.

Local Recording Storage: Recordings stored locally on the host’s device can be encrypted if desired using various free or commercially available tools.

Cloud Recording Storage: Cloud Recordings are processed and stored in Zoom’s cloud after the meeting has ended; these recordings can be password protected or available only to people in one’s organization. If a meeting host enables cloud recording and audio transcripts, both will be stored encrypted.

File transfer storage: If a meeting host enables file transfer through in-meeting chat, those shared files will be stored encrypted and will be deleted within 31 days of the meeting.

Cloud recording access: Meeting recording access is limited to the meeting host and account admin. The meeting/webinar host authorizes others to access the recording with options to share publicly, internal-only, add registration to view, enable/disable ability to download, and an option to password protect the recording.

Any known violations to a tele-conference cyber crime should be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov

Research Project Reviewing Potential For Dogs To Scent Virus

With early, more widespread identification of patients who are carrying coronavirus becoming paramount to potentially ending the pandemic, new research is trying to determine if dogs may be able to detect the virus.

According to a report by the Washington Post, the University of Pennsylvania has launched a research project to determine whether dogs can detect an odor associated with the virus that causes the COVID disease.3 If successful, the dogs could be used to screen people in airports, businesses, or hospitals. The report claims that research has found that viruses have specific odors, which leads experts to believe that this method could be viable. Similar research is also reportedly being conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where researchers previously demonstrated that dogs could identify malaria infections in humans, according to the report by the Post. 

Estimates claim that a dog could screen up to 250 people per hour. One of the key questions of the research will be learning whether or not dogs can detect the virus in a human—if the scent of the virus can be detected to this extreme.

Concern Over COVID Pediatric Syndrome Continues to Intensify

A growing incidence of a “multi-system inflammatory syndrome” among young patients in New York is also giving rise to the thought that a pediatric condition could be yet another complication related to COVID-19. According to a report by AFP, nearly 40 cases had been detected in New York City as of May 10, with an additional nine suspected cases awaiting confirmation.4 Additionally, 85 potential cases of the syndrome are said to be probed statewide, according to the report. While most patients recover without serious issues, some deaths have occurred. The condition shows similarities to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, and symptoms are said to include persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Possible inflammation of blood vessels and the heart are also suspected. An intense immune system response is the result of the condition, from what healthcare experts say they know to this point. It’s expected that all children with associated symptoms will be tested for COVID-19 as well as for its antibodies. Test results thus far have found that 47 percent of the cases have tested positive for coronavirus while 81 percent of patients have the antibodies.

Reports of the pediatric condition were reportedly first raised by Britain’s National Health Service. France has also reported several cases. New York City has reported more than 14,000 coronavirus-linked deaths and more than 5,000 more considered likely caused by the infection.

Thank you for joining us at Elite for your Coronavirus Update for May 11. If you missed last week’s update, please considering reading it here.

References

  1. Zoom tackles hackers with new security measures. BBC News. 2020. Accessed online: www.bbc.com/news/technology-52560602
  2. Privacy and security for zoom video communications. Zoom. 2020. Accessed online: https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/privacy-and-security.html
  3. Brulliard K. Dogs are being trained to sniff out coronavirus cases. Washington Post. 2020. Accessed online: www.washingtonpost.com/science/2020/04/29/coronavirus-detection-dogs
  4. New york leaders sounds alarm over potentially COVID-linked syndrome. AFP. 2020. Accessed online: https://news.yahoo.com/york-mayor-sounds-alarm-over-potentially-covid-linked-154411497.html?.tsrc=daily_mail&uh_test=1_04

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