All WSLHD employees will move to corporate email addresses by 1 September to boost the district’s overall cyber security and reduce the likelihood of malware attacks.
The move comes after a global ransomware attack in May that forced the closure of parts of the United Kingdom health system, and caused chaos for companies around the world.
It means all WSLHD work activities – including patient-related matters, rosters, leave, workplace performance, teaching and administration arrangements – must be done on health emails, which have the address email@example.com.
Access to free email systems – like Hotmail.com, Gmail.com, Outlook.com, bigpond.net.au and yahoo.com – on WSLHD devices was blocked after the May attacks, and will remain restricted. WSLHD employees will still be able to receive and send emails to free email addresses.
The shift will apply to all employees, including staff specialists, fellows, registrars and junior medical officers (JMOs).
Visiting Medical Officers will be transitioned from 1 March, 2018.
WSLHD chief technology officer Les Forrest said free email services were often set up on unsecure platforms overseas that were easy to hack.
“When you are accessing these webmail applications from a browser within our network, clicking on a rogue link, or opening up an infected email/document is a serious threat to our defences,” he said.
“Having this activity within our network, and beyond our initial defence, makes us a lot more vulnerable.”
Kiosks will provide additional information and help staff set up @health emails on their mobile devices on:
- Tuesday, 8 August, Blacktown Hospital front foyer, 10.30am-12.30pm;
- Wednesday, 9 August, Blacktown Hospital front foyer, 12pm-2pm;
- Thursday, 10 August, Westmead Hospital Green Room, 12pm-1pm;
- Tuesday, 15 August, Westmead Hospital front foyer, 10am-12pm;
- Wednesday 16 August, Westmead Hospital front foyer, 11.30am-1.30pm;
- Thursday, 17 August, Westmead Hospital front foyer, 7.30am-9.30am, and
- Friday, 18 August, Westmead Hospital front foyer, 10am-12pm.
A how-to guide, focusing on how to access, use and manage corporate email, and a list of frequently asked questions, will be available in coming weeks.
More than 80 per cent of the 28 million emails sent and received by the @health email system each month are blocked because they are considered a security risk.