Laptop theft leads to Data Breach

January 18th, 2016 by admin Leave a reply »

Montana-based New West Health Services d/b/a New West Medicare recently suffered potential healthcare data breach following a laptop theft.

New West announcement did not specify how many individuals were potentially affected by the incident. According to the OCR data breach reporting tool, the impacted count stands at 28,209.

New West in a statement explained that the password-protected laptop was stolen from an off-site location. It contained information on past and present New West customers.

Affected information includes customers’ names, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers or Medicare claim numbers. Limited information related to some individuals’ Medicare premium payments, including electronic funds transfer information (bank account number, account holder name, account type and bank routing number) or credit card information (card holder name, credit card account number, expiration date and CVV (Card Verification Value) number) may also have been on the laptop.

New West mentioned that the information has not been used inappropriately. It is offering one year of complimentary credit monitoring to affected individuals. New West is also taking steps to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future. It is installing additional security on company laptops, increasing employee education, and strengthening data security policies.

According to the statement:

The privacy and security of members’information is a top priority. Moving forward, we are committed to taking steps to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future. These steps include installing additional security on all company laptops, enhancing education for our employees, and strengthening our data security policies and practices. 

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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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