Archive for the ‘Computer news’ category

Keeping sensitive information from leaks

April 11th, 2017

Today companies needs to keep the data very secure due to need of protecting corporate data and  also regulations which require consumer data to be protected. EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are increasing the fines for non compliance. It is daunting task for companies to comply with regulations.

“I can see the difference from before GDPR and after GDPR,” he said of companies scrambling to shore up data leaks. “Even if I have a tiny office somewhere, I need to check for confidential data.” And automating this scrutiny is the only way to effectively manage it.” said Angel Serrano, senior manager of advanced risk and compliance analytics at PwC UK in London.

What is DLP?

ISACA mention it “data leak prevention”.

Gartner calls it “data loss protection” or “data loss prevention”.

It prevents unauthorized users from sending sensitive data.

“DLP is not one thing, like a tomato,” GBT Technologies co-founder Uzi Yair said, referring to GBT’s enterprise suite of products. In addition to more traditional practices such as scanning endpoints, network and storage as well as policy management and workflow tools, it includes an information rights management (IRM) policy server that applies file-level control over who has access to what, where – it might be solely on-premises – and when.

Recent reports on DLP has below highlights:

  • An average of 20 data loss incidents occur every day all around the world
  • Eighty three percent of organisations have security solutions but still thirty three percent suffer from data loss
  • DLP detects incidents and has regular expressions, dictionary-based rules, and unstructured data for breach detection.
  • Many facilities use DLP only for email instead of full business applications

DLP takes two forms:

  • Agent software for desktops and servers, physical and virtual appliances for monitoring networks and agents, or soft appliances for data discovery
  • Integrated DLP products that may offer more limited functionality

“All these web applications like Google Drive and Office 365 are integrating with other satellite applications,” said Krishna Narayanaswamy, founder and chief scientist at Netskope.” Salesforce uses Google Drive as a place to store files. DocuSign can put documents in Google Drive. You need to be at all the points where data is going into these applications. You need to be able to inspect that data at rest and determine who uploaded that data. Also inspect and apply policies to outgoing email.”

Many companies do not use new ways.

“The new generation considers email a dinosaur. They go to social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – you have to cover those as well. More and more communication is coming via SSL, and that’s a big blank spot that many DLP vendors have not considered,” Narayanaswamy said.

“When you look at the web, there are many reasons for sending data from inside to the outside,” Narayanaswamy said. “Modern applications constantly post information about how users are using the application, response times, and so forth, to improve user experience. When you look at every post transaction, there’s a potential for many false positives,” which have been the bane of DLP.


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Ransomeware attack at ABCD

April 8th, 2017

ABCD Pediatrics recently suffered ransomware attack. According to the statement, a virus was inserted to gain access to the healthcare organization’s servers. Patient data was encrypted in the process. Facility contacted IT personnel to take all servers offline. It is conducting detailed analysis.

Experts came to conclusion that this particular type of virus has likely not removed the information from the server.  Facility also mentioned that user accounts may have been accessed through it’s network. Affected information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, insurance billing information, medical records, and lab reports.

As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, approximately 55,447 patients may have been affected. ABCD has successfully removed the virus from the system. Corrupted data was also removed from its servers. Secure backup of the facility is not affected and thus used to restore all impacted data. It also mentioned that no PHI was lost or destroyed in the incident.

“Also, please note that ABCD never received any ransom demands or other communications from unknown persons,” ABCD stated. “However, ABCD remains concerned because it discovered user logs indicating that computer programs or persons may have been on the server for a limited period of time.”

Facility has upgraded it cyber security monitoring program to stop future incidents. Call centre is setup for the affected patients.

“Patients also can place a fraud alert on their credit files with the three major credit reporting agencies. A fraud alert is a consumer statement added to one’s credit report. The fraud alert signals creditors to take additional steps to verify one’s identity prior to granting credit. This service can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in one’s name, though it may also delay one’s ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies identity.”


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Data breach due to computer virus

March 29th, 2017

Lane Community College (LCC) health clinic recently announced data breach when one of its technician  found a computer virus in the system. The incident has affected PHI of some patients.

As per the reports, virus was transmitting the names, addresses, phone numbers, diagnoses, and Social Security numbers to unidentified third party almost for a year. Facility has notified potentially impacted patients.

“We have no evidence that any of the information was transmitted (from LCC), but there’s the possibility,” LCC Vice President of College Services Brian Kelly said in a statement to the Register-Guard.

Facility conducted internal investigation. It checked 20 other computers at the health clinic. It concluded that only computer was infected with virus. The incident has affected 2,500 individuals.

LCC has advised patients to monitor their bank accounts. Suspicious activity or any threat should be reported to the police. The college health clinic also asked patients to report data breach to their banks, credit bureaus, and credit card companies.

July 2016 HIPPA Journal mentioned that, “Cyberattacks on healthcare organizations are now a fact of life.”

OCR breach portal do not include all the data breaches that are happening around. But the current breach reports gives us the idea of pattern –

48 data breaches were reported as unauthorized access

43 data breaches were attributed to hacking or network server incidents

37 breaches were caused by the loss or theft of devices used to store ePHI or the loss/theft of physical records

4 breaches were due to the improper disposal of records

Stolen records or exposed data includes pattern as below:

60% were due to hacking (2,703,961 records)

78% were due to loss/theft (1,342,125 records)

6% were the result of unauthorized access or disclosure (342,748 records)

63% were the result of improper disposal (118,594 records)


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Financial companies get new security law

February 28th, 2017

The State of New York will be implementing new regulations that require banks, financial services companies to have cyber security programs and also maintain them to specific standards.

“As our global financial network becomes even more interconnected and entities around the world increasingly suffer information breaches, New York is leading the charge to combat the ever-increasing risk of cyber attacks,” Maria T. Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, said in a statement.

Financial companies now need to check security at third party vendors. Also, they need to maintain adequately funded and staffed cyber security program. It should be monitored by qualified management. The team should report to organisation’s senior body.

Standards are also set for access controls, encryption and penetration testings. Breaches should have response plan. Preservation of data comes under this new rule. And notification to the Department of Financial Services should be sent.

Prevalent director of product management Jeff Hill told “The economic wake of a substantial data breach can stretch for years, impacting not only tangible bottom line results, but also inflicting reputational damage that can linger indefinitely.”

“New York State’s new rules are particularly forward-looking in that they emphasize the importance of understanding and managing third party risk, the source of more than half of all breaches according to a number of studies,” Hill added. “Addressing what is often the soft underbelly of many enterprises’ cyber security defenses — third parties/vendors — the State of New York is forcing a critical element of its economic infrastructure to cover all its bases.”

“In recent times, the regulatory pendulum has begun to swing in favor of a ‘lighter’ approach for banks, financial services and for other industries too, for that matter,” VASCO Data Security head of global marketing David Vergara said by email. “It’s good to see, however, that good sense regulations like this one have survived to offer additional consumer protection via thorough evaluations of third party vendors, comprehensive risk assessments and advocacy for stronger multi-factor authentication.”


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Bizmatics and data breach

June 20th, 2016

As per the HIPAA notification letter on the ENT and Allergy Center’s website, yet another medical center suffered potential healthcare data breach due to hacking incident. Affected information included names, addresses, healthcare visit information, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. The EHR files did not contain credit card numbers or any other financial information.

According to the Office of Civil Rights data breach tool, 16,200 individuals were affected by the healthcare data security incident. Facility mentioned that there EHR vendor’s data servers were attacked by hackers. Servers stored and managed patient files. EHR vendor, Bizmatics discovered the intruder and terminated the access.

Bizmatics mentioned that EHR files may have been viewed or acquired as a result of the possible data breach. It also notified ENT and Allergy Centre but failed to identify which patient files may have been exposed.

Bizmatics reached law enforcement officials and hired a private cybersecurity firm to secure its systems. Investigation is carried by the agency.All affected individuals were notified along with free credit, fraud, and identity-theft monitoring services for a year. A toll-free phone number is also setup to answer questions about the healthcare data security incident. ENT and Allergy Centre mentioned that they are in the process of  implementing safeguards to protect information.

There are several other health care facilities affected by this hacking incident. One example include, Pennsylvania-based Integrated Health Solutions PC incident which affected 19,776 individuals. Also, Southeast Eye Institute PA suffered data breach which affected 87,314 individuals.

According to the ENT and Allergy Center’s website:

We intend to abide by the Final Omnibus Rule of the HIPAA regulations regarding your Protected Health Information, hereafter abbreviated as PHI.  The term PHI refers to your medical records, billing and payment records, your name, address, date of birth, social security number, payment history, the name of your health plan and account number, and other data that identifies you.

We are permitted by law to disclose PHI to you and to anyone who needs it to carry out treatment, payment, or healthcare operations.  We will be required to obtain your signature for authorization to release PHI for most uses unrelated to treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.  We will retain your authorization and provide you a copy if you wish to have it.  PHI will be provided within 30 days of the written request in hard copy form.  Information may be available for transfer onto USB media if the media is provided by the patient.  You may revoke your authorization in writing at any time.


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EHR vendor and data breach

June 18th, 2016

Healthcare organization, Vincent Vein Center has notified patients of a potential healthcare data breach. The incident was result of the hacking incident at Bizmatics, a vendor who manages EHR for Vincent. Colorado-based phlebology office of the facility mentioned that some of its EHR files were accessed by the outside entity. Unauthorized access was related to PrognoCIS system, a practice management and EHR system serviced by Bizmatics.

The number of affected individuals stands at 2,250 according to the OCR data breach tool. Affected information included names, addresses, health insurance information, health visit and treatment information, and other identifying data, such as Social Security numbers.The PrognoCIS system use to store complete patient files.

Bizmatics mentioned that there has been no indication that Vincent Vein Center’s files were accessed or obtained by the outside party. Also, there are no available reports of information published online.

As per Bizmatics, “cybersecurity firm is hired to investigate the incident. It found out that that cybercriminals had installed malware on its systems to capture user credentials. Affected individuals are contacted about the possible data breach. Also, the facility has established a toll-free number to answer any questions which included identity theft protection resources for patients.”

As noted in Bizmatics’ letter, we have no reason to believe that our patient files were the target of the hackers’ attack on Bizmatics. VVC is examining Bizmatics’ practices and determining whether a continued relationship with Bizmatics is appropriate. VVC will make every attempt to prevent further breaches.

“We sincerely regret that this incident has occurred and thank you for your understanding.”


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EHR system hacked

June 15th, 2016

A Pennsylvania-based healthcare facility suffered potential data breach when unauthorized users hacked into its EHR system. The system was managed by Bizmatics. The incident has potentially affected around 19,776 individuals as per the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

Bizmatics found out that an outside entity accessed its systems, which resulted some patient files to be exposed. Affected information includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and healthcare visit information.

Bizmatics did not specify if patient records from Integrated Health Solutions PC were accessed during the hacking incident. To be on safer side, healthcare has taken measures to strengthen healthcare data security policies.

“Integrated Health Solutions, values your privacy and deeply regrets that this incident occurred and is working closely with its advisors and Bizmatics to ensure the incident is properly addressed, including, a review of our data security measures in order to help prevent a recurrence of such an attack,” reported the statement. “We have also contacted relevant state and federal authorities regarding this issue.”

It had informed several other organizations of potential healthcare data breaches that left EHR files exposed to outside entities. Bizmatics also suffered data breach early this year.

One example includes that of Florida-based Southeast Eye Institute, PA. It notified 87,314 individuals due to hacking incident which was managed by Bizmatics. Another example involved 19,937 patients at the Pain Treatments Center of America (PTCOA) and Interventional Surgery Institute (ISI) in Arkansas which was affected by data breach.

“We have no reason to believe that our patient files were the target of the hackers’ attack on Bizmatics,” wrote PTCOA and ISI. “Due to the nature of the attack, Bizmatics cannot say for certain that PTCOA’s patient files were among the data that was accessed or acquired by the hacker.”


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Mis-mailing and data breach

June 6th, 2016

Coordinated Health Mutual, Inc. recently suffered data breach which affected around 591 individuals  as per the Office of Civil Rights data breach portal. Facility confirmed the healthcare data security breach. The incident occurred after a vendor experienced an internal, electronic sorting issue. Around 650 incorrect or incomplete 1095-B forms were inadvertently printed and mailed.

A 1095-B form is a healthcare insurance form is used to verify individual’s health insurance coverage for a specific amount of time. Individual needs to enter information like dependents on the policy, and the how long the policy was active.

According to the statement, ‘These incorrect or incomplete forms either do not display a policyholder’s dependents at all, or they have incorrect dependents listed. No medical information was included and this information is not publically available; specifically, one policyholder may have the information on the dependents of another policyholder. ‘

Coordinated Mutual Health, Inc. conducted investigation and found that less than 800 dependents were listed on the incorrect policyholder’s form.

“Following an initial assessment and report by our vendor, we alerted all members and appointed brokers of the issue on April 5 and asked that they contact our Compliance Department if they received an incorrect 1095-B form. We are also encouraging members to destroy or return any incorrect forms they may have received.”

Coordinated Mutual Health, Inc. mentioned in the statement about identity protection services offerings to any impacted dependent. Policyholders will also receive their corrected 1095-B forms with instructions on how to enroll in the services.

As per the company website:

HIPAA, which stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a set of Federal Regulations originally passed in 1996. One component that HIPAA focuses on is Privacy.

So what is HIPAA Privacy all about? HIPAA Privacy is about protecting the confidential nature of an individual’s health information. It is as simple as that.

The Privacy Regulation protects health information relating to past, present or future physical or mental health of an individual. Any health information that can be directly linked or associated with an individual is referred to as “protected health information” or PHI for short. Protected health information can be in written, electronic or oral form. For more information please visit United States Department of Health & Human Services Website.


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Employee misuse results in potential healthcare data breach

June 3rd, 2016

Inappropriate access to patient information over seven years has resulted in a possible PHI breach at an Iowan hospital, as per the report.

Around 1,620 patients have been notified by UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital. Former employee had improperly viewed PHI through the hospital’s EHR system. The employee was allowed access to the EHR system to do her job at that time, but she did not have the authority to view the records for patients who are involved in this healthcare data security event. The employee’s EHR access was terminated as soon as the hospital detected the possible PHI breach and the staff member was disciplined according to hospital policies.

According to the Jim Waterbury, the hospital’s vice president for institutional advancement,  Allen Hospital staff detected inappropriate access to the hospital’s medical records on March 14 and opened an immediate review.

Patients may have had their names, home addresses, dates of birth, health insurance information, and treatment information disclosed in the incident. The report stated that less than 15 percent of affected patients may have had their Social Security numbers viewed.

“We apologize to our affected patients, and we accept our responsibility to keep this event from happening again,” UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jim Waterbury told The Courier.

Steps been taken by hospital to prevent future healthcare data breaches includes additional training on proper access of EHR systems and performing more audits.

Facility has also provided patients with guidance on other precautionary measures they can take to protect their information, including placing a fraud alert, placing a security freeze and/or obtaining a free credit report.


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Unauthorized access and data breach

May 31st, 2016

The Southeast Eye Institute, PA, or Eye Associates of Pinellas recently suffered a possible healthcare data breach. The incident occurred due to hacking incident.  An unauthorized party accessed patient files which was managed by a third-party vendor.The number of affected patients stands at 87,314 individuals as per Office of Civil Rights (OCR) data breach portal.

“We have learned that Bizmatics became aware of the incident in late 2015, but neither Bizmatics, law enforcement, nor the cyber forensics firm is able to pinpoint the precise date on which the attack began. Bizmatics has communicated to us that it believes the incident began in early 2015.”

Bizmatics Inc, an off-site vendor for Southeast Eye Institute was attacked by hackers. Affected information included names, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and insurance information. The practice reported that medical and financial information was not involved in the event.

Bizmatics Inc mentioned that patient information was segregated into several different files. The purpose was to increase healthcare data security measures. It didn’t mention whether hackers were able to combine all the data. It didn’t confirm the type of patients file which were affected.

Southeast East Institute mentioned that affected patients included who visited the facility an on or before November 16, 2015.

“We have no reason to believe that our patient files were the target of the hackers’ attack on Bizmatics. Due to the nature of the attack, Bizmatics cannot say for certain that PTCOA’s patient files were among the data that was accessed or acquired by the hacker.”

Southeast Eye Institute no longer works with Bizmatics Inc. However, the Bizmatics Inc. contacted the FBI. It also hired a cybersecurity firm to improve its data security measures which includes strengthening firewalls and network configurations.


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