Thumb Drive and Data Breach

January 16th, 2016 by admin Leave a reply »

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) suffered a potential healthcare data breach after a USB thumb drive was stolen from its facility. Potentially affected information includes patient names, medical record numbers, dates of service, types of imaging service received, and “administrative–type information used for internal business purposes.”

SLCH conducted internal investigation. It found out that the thumb drive “appears to have included a file” that held certain patient information on it. Social Security numbers and electronic medical records were not included.

“SLCH values the privacy and security of its patients’ information and is taking steps to prevent this type of event from happening in the future, including requiring password and encryption protection for all of its USB thumb drives, and the implementation of new systems that do not require the use of thumb drives or other mobile media devices,” SLCH explained.

SLCH did not list how many individuals were affected. According to the OCR data breach reporting tool, 29,156 individuals as being affected.

Many other data breaches occur due to missing storage drives.  Advantage of encrypting storage drive includes –

  • Controls how these device are used
  • Enforces encryption policies on all data transfer
  • Limits the data to be transferred
  • Prevents Data Leakage
  • Provides flexibility as per the usage and working environment

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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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