Security Breach due to stolen device

January 30th, 2015 by admin Leave a reply »

Premier Home Health (Premier) may likely suffer data breach due to stolen laptop and cell phone from a nurse’s apartment. The incident puts PHI at risks for 2,700 patients.  Premier is an Senior Health Partners (SHP) business associate. According to SHP, laptop was password protected and encrypted.

An SHP press release mentioned that a laptop bag that contained both the laptop and the cellular device was stolen. The cell phone was not password protected or encrypted and  the encryption key for laptop was stolen with the laptop bag

According to the forensic expert hired by SHP, it was unclear if the laptop was inappropriately accessed. Affected information includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, Medicaid ID numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers, type of medical services provided, diagnoses and health insurance claim numbers.

According to the statement:

 Senior Health Partners sincerely regrets that this incident occurred.  It takes the privacy and security of members’ health information very seriously and expects its vendors to do the same. SHP values the trust its members have placed in it as their health plan, and it is SHP’s priority to reassure its members that it is taking steps to ensure its members’ information is protected.

Although there is no report of any attempted or actual misuse of member information, SHP has retained AllClear ID to protect its members’ identities. SHP members who have been affected by this incident will receive access to one year of free identity and credit monitoring and restoration services, along with access to a confidential assistance line and an identity theft protection specialist. SHP is reviewing and updating its policies and procedures, and those of its business associates, to prevent a similar incident from recurring. SHP has advised its members to contact the confidential assistance line or their Care Manager for more information.

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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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