Archive for April, 2016

Computer Virus Causes Data Breach

April 7th, 2016

Mercy Iowa City, an acute care hospital and regional referral center, recently suffered data breach  due to computer virus. Mercy Lowa City did not mention the number of affected individuals but the OCR data breach portal mentioned that 15,625 individuals were affected by the incident.

Mercy Iowa City came to know about computer virus on January 29. It had potentially infected some of its systems three days prior. The hospital now has secured the computer systems to prevent the spread of the virus.

“That’s a small percentage compared with the total number of patients the hospital serves”, said Margaret Reese, interim director of marketing and community relations and president of the Mercy Hospital Foundation. She said she did not know the total number of patients, adding that “it would be a huge number when you consider all of the many services.”

Internal investigation is carried out by forensics firm. Capturing personal data was the main motive of the computer virus. Thus it is believed that data breach has occurred.

Reese said Mercy has been working with federal law enforcement on its investigation. The hospital’s release said current safeguards have been enhanced to protect sensitive data. Reese said she could not comment on what the enhancements were.

According to the reports, unauthorized access to patients records by outside entity has resulted into the incident. which did not affect all Mercy Hospital and Mercy Clinic patients.

According to the statement, “Mercy deeply regrets any inconvenience this may have caused our patients. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we have enhanced our existing technical safeguards to protect patient information.”

Affected information included names, dates of birth, addresses, treatments, diagnoses, medication lists, names of health insurers, and health insurance policy numbers. Social Security numbers may also have been accessed for some patients.

“To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we have enhanced our existing technical safeguards to protect patient information,” stated the press release.

The hospital also created a call center dedicated to answering questions about the data security event. Mercy Iowa City mentioned that there is no evidence patient information misuse.

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Cyber Security Budgets Not In Tune With Rising Threats

April 2nd, 2016

Businesses are increasing their investment in cyber security but the landscape of threat is changing very rapidly. To remain secured one has to understand the possibility of cyber attacks in advance and make sure data remains safe. Majority of security professionals believes that the budget should be increased.

Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP) conducted survey to understand the current scenario. Two-thirds of professionals said that security budgets has increased. For 15% of respondents, budgets stayed the same.

“In times of financial pressure or instability, as we have seen in recent years, security is often seen as a supporting function or an overhead,” said IISP director Piers Wilson.

Sixty percent believes that budgets are low considering level of threats. Only seven percent of respondents reported that security budgets were rising faster than the level of threat.

The survey was conducted in participation with more than 2,500 members working in security across a wide range of industries and roles. UK cyber security space can be understood by the survey.

“Security budgets are hard won because they are about protection against future issues, so are a good indication of the state of risk awareness in the wider business community,” he said.

Wilson said that while it is good news that businesses are increasing investment, it is clear that spending on security is still not at a level that matches the changing threat dynamics.

Cyber security skills shortage is another issues which organisations are dealing. Participants mentioned that there is shortfall in the level of skills and experience which makes staff training, development and retention crucial to the future of the industry.

Ten percent of respondents felt that the security industry’s ability to protect data is declining rather than improving while forty nine percent said the opposite.

Survey found that there is awareness of security risks. Also, the impacts of a breach are driving an increase in investment, skills, experience, education and professionalism.

“While there is clearly much more to be done, the results of the survey are encouraging,” said Wilson.

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