Archive for July, 2014

The Alabama Department of Public Health faces data breach

July 4th, 2014

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has send out breach notices for more than 500 patients. According to the reports, the affected includes patients treated at one of Alabama’s 65 county health departments. Patient’s personal information and identities were compromised due to this incident.

Data compromised includes clients’ names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers from ADPH, as well as several other entities. Privacy Officer Samarria Dunson, “[w]e believe now that it is possible they may have been former employees, but we are still participating in the investigation. It would be particular records that were printed out by individuals.”

ADPH released a statement saying it was informed on June 5, 2014 that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division that they were prosecuting a case of theft involving personal information.

“We believe now that it is possible they may have been former employees, but we are still participating in the investigation,” Alabama Department of Public Health Privacy Officer Samarria Dunson.

“It would be particular records that were printed out by individuals,” Dunson said.

Dunson says victims range in age, but most were young adults.

“They were born mostly in the year of 1996 which would make then 18 now. Unfortunately that seems to be a group of people that these type of criminals really go after maybe because they are not filing tax returns right now or really keeping up with their credit score,” Dunson said.

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Child Vaccination records stolen

July 2nd, 2014


The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District recently suffered data breach when laptop containing information was stolen. According to reports, number of child patients stands at 300 whose vaccination information was present on the laptop. Information on the laptop included patients’ last names, dates of birth, doctor identifier and immunization names.

“Metro Health takes the privacy of individual health information seriously and is reviewing all practices and policies associated with the handling and transport of protected health information,” a spokeswoman said to  “While the likelihood of harm from this breach is minimal, those affected by this theft are being individually notified and advised to monitor their health insurance statements closely for any unusual activity.”

Metro Health’s site fails to explain the laptop location at the time of the theft. Also it has been come to the notice that laptop which contained vaccination records from the Vaccines for Children program, has not been recovered.

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Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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