Archive for the ‘Hackers’ category

Neurosurgical Center data breach

August 20th, 2016

The Center for Neurosurgical and Spinal Disorders (CNSD) mentioned that approximately 1,100 patients may have been affected by recent data breach.  Security incident occurred this summer which exposed data. According to the reports, hacker gained unauthorised access of CNSD office manager’s computer by installing a program. The purpose of the program is to record keystrokes and periodically took screenshots of what was being displayed on the computer.

“We detected an unauthorized intruder in one of our computers. Access to this computer was immediately shut down; subsequently, CNSD’s servers and network were taken offline.”

“A subsequent investigation revealed that screen shots of 823 CNSD’s patients (along with 311 patients of another practice for whom CNSD bills) were taken between the dates of 7/7/16-7/18/16,” CNSD reported. “It is unclear whether any of this information was downloaded.”

As per the investigation by CNSD IT professional, hacker had gained remote access. Affected information included names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, medical chart information, and billing information which got revealed in the screen shots. Affected patients will be receiving notification letters.

“After the FBI took the hacked hard drive, CNSD’s IT professional put in a new hard drive with a new operating system into the computer at issue, and CNSD hired a separate IT security company to perform a complete examination of all software, servers, computers, routers, firewalls, and office security,” the statement read. “No additional suspicious programs, viruses, spyware, or malware were detected. The security firm has been retained to provide ongoing network security analysis and advanced threat protection.”

As per the statement:

CNSD reported the security breach to the FBI. Two FBI agents came to CNSD’s office and interviewed the owner, office manager, and IT professional.  The FBI has taken custody of the hard drive which was hacked and opened an investigation.

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Hillary Clinton email controversy and best practices for protecting data in your company

August 4th, 2016

According to the new reports, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch mentioned that the Department of Justice is closing its case regarding Clinton. Earlier, clinton has used personal email account to conduct government business instead of official U.S. government email account.

Hillary received explicit warnings from the State Department’s cybersecurity team to stop using personal email. She had a private domain hosted on a private server placed in her home. This controversy can help us to understand the best data practices.

According to the comey,  Clinton and her colleagues were “sloppy,” “negligent,” and “extremely careless”  to handle classified information passing through her private server.

“Participants who know or should know that information is classified are still obligated to protect it,” said Comey at his press conference. He mentioned that everyone must be well trained and accountable for the information they handle, receive, read and exposed to. Proper training and sound implementation avoids security incidents.

“We [at the FBI] assess that it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account,” said Comey at his press conference.

Many Clinton’s emails contained sensitive foreign intelligence data which can be compromised. Earlier, Clinton’s server was hacked in 2013.

“There are only two kinds of organizations,” MIT engineering and IT professor Stuart Madnick, who also serves as Director of the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, has said at numerous symposiums and conferences at MIT over the past couple of years. “Those that have been hacked and those that don’t yet know they have been hacked.”

“‘Prevention, prevention, prevention, that’s all I’m focused on,’ is gonna be doomed to failure,” said Chertoff in his keynote address at the Advanced Cyber Security Center’s 2014 annual conference. “You’re not gonna eliminate the risk of cyber attacks; this is about managing the risk.”

House Democrats tried to defend Clinton during the hearing saying she may not have noticed or may not have understood “tiny, little” markings of “(C)” next to some paragraphs in her emails.  It is for classified files.

“It’s possible that she didn’t understand what a ‘(C)’ meant when she saw it in the body of an email like that,” testified Comey, who further indicated that before his investigation, he likely would have automatically assumed that a State Department official would know what the ‘(C)’ meant. “[It’s] not that she would have no idea what a classified marking would be, [but] it’s an interesting question whether she … was actually sophisticated enough to understand what [‘(C)’] means.”

In your company make sure that employees should read, understand, acknowledge the policies and receive effective training to handle day to day data and its classification to consider them accordingly.

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Hacking causes EHR breach

August 2nd, 2016

As per the notice on website, Athens Orthopedic Clinic in Georgia mentioned that it has experienced a potential EHR breach after a healthcare cybersecurity incident. Facility said that an external entity had launched a cyberattack on its EHR system using a third-party vendor’s credentials.

Affected information included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, telephone numbers, and, in some cases, diagnoses and partial medical histories. Facility did not mention the number of individuals affected.

Many have earlier mentioned the need to strengthen healthcare systems.

“You rarely hear healthcare as the focus of the cyber-security industry,” Ralph Echemendia, CEO of cyber-security consulting firm Red-e Digital says. “With the Sony hack, an entire corporation was taken completely down. Nobody could go to work. If you do that to a hospital, people die.”

Cybersecurity experts were hired to investigate the attack and assess facility systems. Cybersecurity firm’s recommendations are implemented to improve healthcare data security.

“We are in the process of notifying the affected patients, and deeply regret any stress this may cause our patients,” Kayo Elliott, CEO of Athens Orthopedic Clinic told OnlineAthens.com.

“Rest assured that we are taking all necessary measures to ensure that any resulting damage is limited to the extent possible and working to retain your trust in our practice. We advise that our patients contact credit reporting agencies to create a fraud alert as soon as possible; we have posted a statement on our website that includes credit reporting agency contact information.”

According to the website:

Athens Orthopedic Clinic has been providing comprehensive orthopedic care to Athens and surrounding communities since 1966. AOC is a healthcare facility with a long-standing tradition of excellence and service. As a total orthopedic care center, our physicians specialize in orthopedic surgery and handle the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments in both adults and children.

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Data breach at North Ottowa Medical Group

July 20th, 2016

North Ottowa Medical Group suffered data breach along with many other healthcare facilities due to hacking incident at Bizmatics, an EHR vendor. Bizmatics notified Michigan-based medical group  about the data breach. It mentioned unauthorised user access of its server, but didn’t confirm whether North Ottawa Medical Group data was accessed or not.

According to the reports, about 22,000 individuals were affected by the healthcare data security event. Possible affected data relates to patients at the medical group’s employed physician practices, including the internal medicine, family practice, and women’s health offices.Disclosed information included names, addresses, health visit information, treatments, health insurance information, and Social Security numbers. The incident may have also exposed the last four digits of a credit card number for some patients.

The medical center mentioned that an independent cyber forensics firm, hired by Bizmatics, is working with the vendor. Also, law enforcement officials conducted a criminal investigation.

“These investigations found that there was no reason to believe patient files were the target of the attack,” the press release stated. “Further, investigators could not conclusively determine if there was, in fact, a PHI breach at all.”

North Ottowa Medical Center has notified affected individuals and the Department of Health and Human Services of the incident. Complimentary identity recovery assistance services for a year is also setup.

According to the website:

Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, NOCHS has reported this incident to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and is treating the situation as though an actual breach occurred. Therefore, in accordance with HIPAA law NOCHS has notified DHHS, NOMG patients, and by way of this news release, the community. NOMG patients will also receive identity recovery assistance services for a year, at no cost.

The North Ottawa Medical Group doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners work directly for and within the North Ottawa Community Health System and your community hospital. Our mission is to develop a personal, long-term relationship with you, as well as be our community’s most trusted, local partner in creating a healthier future for all.

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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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Alertsec is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information  Customers range from single-user sole traders and consultants to multinational companies with a large number of offices around the globe. Over 4 million users worldwide use Alertsec Check Point Full Disk Encryption.

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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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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Hacking incident and data breach

May 24th, 2016

Indiana-based Lafayette Pain Care PC recently suffered probable data breach after an outside entity accessed some patients EHR data. According to the OCR data breach portal, around 7,500 individuals were affected by the possible PHI breach.

As per the statement, “Lafayette Pain Care’s EHR management vendor experienced a hacking incident that could have resulted in some patient files being exposed to intruders. The potential healthcare data breach affected multiple EHR systems across the country, confirmed the statement.”

“All this said, our electronic medical records provider has informed us that it is not aware of any evidence that our patient records were in fact accessed or acquired by any unauthorized persons,” as per the website.

Lafayette Pain Care has notified affected individuals and has asked patients to monitor their credit accounts. It also advised to report any suspicious or inappropriate activity. It has also offered free credit monitoring services to affected and verified patients.

“We do recommend that our patients check with their local credit bureau or credit monitoring agency (such as TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax) for any unauthorized activity with their credit or identity. Patients can also utilize the site www.annualcreditreport.com to review their credit report annually.”

“If any unauthorized activity is noted, it should be reported appropriately. We recommend that all persons receiving medical or surgical care, regularly review their Explanation of Benefits forms to confirm the accuracy of included listed services.”

According to the statement:

Lafayette Pain Care is pleased to welcome new patients to our practice. As a valued customer of our practice, we maintain complete records on you to ensure that we can always communicate with you promptly, treat you in the most appropriate and effective manner, coordinate with your other doctors where needed, and ensure your care is paid for by insurance or other means.

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Alertsec is the full disk encryption service that delivers a mobile data protection system for all information stored on laptops used throughout your organization.

Hacking incident and data breach

May 20th, 2016

Alcohol and substance abuse patients in San Juan County, New Mexico suffered data breach due to hacking incident. According to the official statement, San Juan County mentioned that an outside entity had gained access to a county-owned computer. The device contained PHI and was accessible to hacker for half an hour. Affected information included names, addresses, health assessments, treatment information, and medication information.

Health information of participants in two treatment programs that collected PHI was viewed by hackers. Both the programs were created to help individuals in the criminal justice system for the cases related to drunk driving or substance abuse violations. The treatment programs support offenders to recover from drug and alcohol addictions.

“We take your privacy and protection very seriously and we deeply regret that this incident occurred,” reported the notice. “We are now in the process of reviewing our internal policies and data-management protocols and will be implementing enhanced security measures to help prevent this type of incident from recurring in the future.”

According to the statement, no other information other than mentioned above was disclosed in the possible healthcare data breach.

“Upon learning of the incident, SJC immediately took steps to investigate the incident and to ensure that no additional information may have been put at risk. SJC completed a forensic computer investigation and has found no evidence that this information was accessed by the intruder or removed from the computer.”

Healthcare data security measures and patient privacy policies are analysed and improved after the incident.

SJC advised patients for following –

Contact SJC at the phone number provided below. SJC will determine if your information was potentially affected. SJC can then provide complimentary identity repair and protection services, at no cost to you. 

Although financial account details were not affected by this incident, as a general precaution we recommend that you review your credit and debit card account statements as soon as possible to determine if there are any discrepancies or unusual activity listed.

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Alertsec is the full disk encryption service that delivers a mobile data protection system for all information stored on laptops used throughout your organization.