Amazon Sidewalk… What?

sidewalk closedWhen I read the first couple sentences of the Help Me With HIPAA podcast episode, Get off the sidewalk!, I immediately just started running around my house unplugging all my Alexa devices.  I’m all for technology convenience and interoperability, but not at the cost security and peace of mind.

Amazon has a new feature, called Sidewalk, that allows your Ring and Echo devices to “work better”.  Sidewalk allows your Echo to create a shared network with your neighbor. And, oh by the way, this new feature will be automatically enabled. We are, or at least should be, doing everything we can to lock our networks down. But now Amazon is going to allow our devices to set up a separate network to share broadband with our neighbors. Right now it sounds innocent, but we all know that if the technology exists, someone will find the vulnerability in it and exploit it.  Now that many of us are working from home, this is opening up a whole other set of problems for businesses.  Listen to the Get Off The Sidewalk episode to hear why Donna and David are so excited about these topics.  Oh, and you’ll also learn about HIPAA and collard greens.  Yes, you heard me right… HIPAA and collard greens.

Donna and David also discussed the new final rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as the HHS Office of Inspector General that contain provisions allowing hospitals and healthcare delivery systems to donate cybersecurity technology (such as software, hardware and services) to physician practices.  Sounds great at the surface, but of course there is more to think about than what is at the surface. Listen to this Help Me With HIPAA episode for more details and get Donna and David’s take on these new provisions.  But to put it in the simplest terms, these donations will likely create less secure physicians practices because some physicians will make the assumptions that the hospitals are taking care of the equipment, and we all know what ‘assuming’ does for us.