“The dramatic expansion of teleworking by U.S. schools, businesses and government agencies in response to the coronavirus is raising fresh questions about the capacity and security of the tools many Americans use to connect to vital workplace systems and data,” reports CNN: As of last week the Air Force’s virtual private networking software could only support 72,000 people at once, according to a federal contractor who was also not authorized to speak on the record, and telework briefing materials viewed by CNN. The Air Force employs over 145,000 in-house civilian workers, and over 130,000 full-time contractors. As they increasingly log on from home, Americans are having to meld their personal technology with professional tools at unprecedented scale. For employers, the concern isn’t just about capacity, but also about workers introducing new potential vulnerabilities into their routine — whether that’s weak passwords on personal computers, poorly secured home WiFi routers, or a family member’s device passing along a computer virus. Long-time Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein also worries about a world where “doctors switch to heavy use of video office visits, and in general more critical information than ever is suddenly being thrust onto the Internet…”
For example, the U.S. federal government is suspending key aspects of medical privacy laws to permit use of “telemedicine” via commercial services that have never been certified to be in compliance with the strict security and privacy rules associated with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The rush to provide more remote access to medical professionals is understandable, but we must also understand the risks of data breaches that once having occurred can never be reversed.

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