Archive for the ‘Password’ category

Phishing Scam and Data Breach

April 27th, 2016

Wyoming Medical Center recently suffered data breach when it was hit by phishing scam. According to the reports, 3,184 individuals received the notification letter by the medical center which mentioned that their PHI may have been accessed by an unauthorized user.

Facility explained the phishing email as,

“Phishing emails are email messages appearing to come from legitimate sources, such as a bank, a trusted friend or colleague, or trusted businesses, etc.  Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, email addresses, or Social Security Numbers.  Many times, it is difficult to identify phishing emails. “

Earlier in this February, the medical center found out that two email accounts were accessed by an outside entity.  Phishing email was sent to one of the employee and after opening it other employees also received emails. This unauthorized access lasted for around fifteen minutes.

Affected information included data related to hospital purchasing, wound care, and patients who were on isolation precaution. Also, PHI information was exposed which included names, medical record numbers, dates of hospital services, account numbers, dates of birth, and some medical information. Medical center mentioned that  EHR systems were not compromised.

Wyoming Medical Center has also reviewed its security policies. Facility also mentioned that there is limited scope of identity risk, “No, the information accessible by the unauthorized user was limited and did not include the proper information to allow for identity theft.  If you are concerned about potential identity theft, you may contact one of the credit reporting agencies that will place fraud protection on your credit report.  All you have to do is contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and ask them to put a fraud alert on your credit file, and they should automatically inform the other two credit agencies. “

Medical Center facility also mentioned that they take privacy very seriously by educating employees on privacy. It also has firewalls and necessary safeguards to avoid such incidents. It also performs routine audit to fine loopholes in the system. Also, information security firms are given contracts to monitor and audits systems routinely.

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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.

Ransomware and Data Breach

April 21st, 2016

“Is ransomware considered a health data breach under HIPAA?”. The answer is explored in the recent issue of Forbes magazine by author Dan Munro. He researched healthcare and compliance domains.

According to the information presented, a ransomware attack should not be considered data breach as per PHI disclosure restrictions in HIPAA. It is more about the message of lax security that’s being broadcast to cyber-criminals around the world. But Dan believes otherwise.

Ransomware attacks should be considered as unauthorized exposures of private information. It is same as the outright theft of the laptop, desktop, or server breach.

Acccording to the records of Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in 2015, there were more than 300 disclosed healthcare breaches. One-third are due to the loss or theft of some piece of equipment like laptop, desktop, server, or other portable electronic device.

The report also states that more than 100 of the disclosed breaches were due to attack like ransomware. The breaches affected more than hundreds of thousands of records.  It is believed that the records under the hands of criminals can cause breach.

HIPAA rules states that the notification letters to be sent to affected individuals because the systems and the PHI are not under control of the healthcare provider.

Ransomware Attacks

Types of Ransomware –

Few attacks takes control of machine and lock it down. This action blocks the access to legitimate users. The system is unlocked only paying after ransom amount and clearly the system is under the control of criminals.

Few attacks involves remote access control by criminal. They awaits the Bitcoin payment to unlock and reconfigure the system.

Common form of ransomware includes a software which encrypts certain important files with certain password. The process includes accessing the files and encrypting and storing the files  in the same place. Once the payment is done, files are unlocked.

Now a days, ransomware attacks to extort money are on the rise.

There’s more and more documented evidence that this is going on,” says Ori Eisen, founder and chief innovation officer of fraud prevention company 41st Parameter. “It’s more prevalent in the United Kingdom, which is sort of a staging or testing ground. It’s starting there and getting more momentum.”

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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.

Stolen laptop and data breach

April 14th, 2016

Laptop theft can lead to data breach. OptumRx, the pharmacy care branch of a health services and technology company in Minnesota suffered data breach due to the theft incident. An unencrypted laptop was stolen from an employee’s vehicle in Indianapolis, Indiana as per the reports. OptumRx mentioned that laptop belonged to an unnamed vendor who provides home delivery services to patients.

Affected information included names, health plan names,addresses, prescription drug information, and prescribing provider information. For some individuals, dates of birth may have been exposed.

It also confirmed that Social Security numbers, credit cards, and other financial information was not involved.

Company did not specify the number of affected individuals. Also, Office of Civil Rights data breach portal didn’t mention the number of individuals affected by the security incident.

OptumRx has now contacted local authorities and launched an outside investigation. It has also mailed notification letters to potentially affected individuals.

“In addition, we have worked with the vendor to put immediate and additional protections in place to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future,” explained OptumRx’s notification letter. “These measures include additional security requirements on laptops they use for OptumRx work, training and reinforcement of existing policies and practices, and further evaluation of additional safeguards.”

The company is also working with local law enforcement. Vendor is asked to put in place additional levels of protection for its laptops. One free year of identity theft protection services is also offered to individuals. It is supplying each with a one-year subscription to LifeLock.

LifeLock subscription includes following facilities to users:

  • Identity Threat Detection and Alerts:

With this service, LifeLock actively monitors an extensive online network for attempts to use your personal information. Whenever suspicious activity is detected, user will receive an alert via email or phone.

  • Wallet Protection

It also provides services for missing wallet. It has asked users to just call— anytime, anywhere—and LifeLock will help cancel or replace the contents to stop fraudulent activities. Coverage under this scheme includes credit and debit cards, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, checkbooks and travelers checks.

  • Address & Verification

Impersonating can be done and Identity thieves can redirect your mail, containing financial information and providing a fraudulent new address. LifeLock monitors these such kinds of requests and notifies the user.

  • Black Market Surveillance

Identity thieves also get involved in illegal buy, sell and trade sensitive personal information on black market Internet sites. LifeLock now patrols over 10,000 criminal websites. Any suspicious activity is  notified to the user.

  • Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers

LifeLock works with bank to reduce emailing to affected individuals to avoid identity theft.

  • LifeLock Member Service 24/7/365

Sign in to your secure member portal at LifeLock.com is available all the time.

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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.

Data Breach Due to Email Misconduct

April 11th, 2016

Val Verde Regional Medical Center recently announced data breach when unsecured PHI in an email was discovered.

“On or about August 9, 2015, an independent healthcare provider downloaded unsecured protected health information and emailed it to a personal account without encryption protection,” explained the press release. “In addition, the independent contractor was not authorized to access some of the protect[ed] health information.”

Val Verde Regional Medical Center came to know about health data breach on December 8, 2015. Affected patient information in the email included names, addresses, phone numbers, medical record numbers, and visit numbers.

According to the OCR data breach portal, two thousand individuals were affected by the incident. Val Verde Regional Medical Center launched an investigation. It also notified patients who were possibly affected by the event.

Internal audit and improved security measures to the hospital’s HIPAA security program is being undertaken by the hospital.

Val Verde Medical Center  believes that there have been no reports of improper use of PHI, patient medical histories, or Social Security numbers by unauthorized individuals. It has encouraged all potentially affected patients to monitor credit reports for suspicious activity.

Users are advised to take necessary steps.They are advised to obtain credit reports from one or more of the major credit reporting agencies to monitor financial accounts for unauthorized activity. Consumers are entitled to  get a free copy of their credit report from each of the major nationwide credit reporting companies once every 12 months. They need to request the same as per the federal law.

Del Rio and surrounding communities received services from Val Verde Regional Medical Center since 1959. Val Verde Regional Medical Center considers the privacy of patients as a high priority task. It is guided by the mission to improve the health of the people in the communities served.

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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.

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

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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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’s Check Point Full Disk Encryption.

Security Survey Conducted by SailPoint Market Pulse

March 31st, 2016

SailPoint Market Pulse conducted survey which showed interesting results. According to the result, 20 percent of respondents said they would sell their passwords to a third party. Twenty percent of U.S. respondents said they would do so. Forty Four percent would do so for less than $1,000. The survey was conducted on 1,000 employees at organizations with at least 1,000 employees.

Participants were located in U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands and Australia.

“One would think that as more breaches touched more people individually, they would be more vigilant about security processes,” the report states. “But, in a stark contrast, it seems that while they expect their personal information’s safety, when functioning as employees, these same users are practicing security incredibly ineffectively, leaving themselves and their employers exposed.”

Other highlights of survey includes –

  • One third of participants admitted having purchased a SaaS application without IT’s knowledge
  • Twenty six percent admitted having uploaded sensitive information to cloud apps with the specific intent of sharing that data outside the company
  • Forty percent of respondents said they were still able to access a variety of corporate accounts after leaving their last job
  • One third of respondents said they have been impacted on a personal level by recent data breaches
  • Eighty five percent said they would react negatively if their personal information was breached at a company with whom they do business
  • Eighty-four percent of respondents are concerned that incredibly sensitive information about them is being shared
  • Thirty two percent of respondents admitted sharing passwords with their co-workers, and 65 percent admitted using a single password between applications.

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Alertsec is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information. Over 4 million users worldwide use Alertsec’s Check Point Full Disk Encryption.

Hospitals and Ransomware

March 28th, 2016

The Ottawa Hospital, Kentucky Methodist Hospital, Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital was recently infected with ransomware.

As per Kentucky Methodist Hospital, “Methodist Hospital is currently working in an internal state of emergency due to a computer virus that has limited our use of electronic Web-based services. We are currently working to resolve this issue, until then we will have limited access to Web-based services and electronic communications.”

“It did cause significant disruptions of our IT systems,” Fred Ortega, spokesman for Prime Healthcare Services, which operates Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley hospital, told BBC News. “However, most of the systems and the critical infrastructure has been brought back online.”

Locky ransomware was delivered by email and spread from the initial infected computer to others on the network. Jamie Reid, Kentucky Methodist’s information systems director mentioned in the statement.

“We have a pretty robust emergency response system that we developed quite a few years ago, and it struck us that as everyone’s talking about the computer problem at the hospital maybe we ought to just treat this like a tornado hit, because we essentially shut our system down and reopened on a computer-by-computer basis,” David Park, an attorney for Kentucky Methodist, told Krebs.

Attackers demanded four bitcoins (approximately $1,600) to decrypt the files.

Canada’s Ottawa Hospital was also infected. Around 9,800 computers were infected with ransomware. “The malware locked down the files and the hospital responded by wiping the drives,” hospital spokeswoman Kate Eggins told the National Post. “We are confident we have appropriate safeguards in place to protect patient information and continue to look for ways to increase security.”

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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.

Unencrypted email and data breach

March 24th, 2016

BJC Healthcare Accountable Care Organization (BCJ ACO) in the St. Louis area recently announced data breach when an unencrypted email was sent to a participating medical practice in the BCJ ACO.It mentioned that 2,393 patients were possibly affected by the data security breach.

As per the statement, an email was sent containing patient information without the necessary security encryption. Affected information includes patient names, gender, dates of birth, and Medicare beneficiary identification numbers.  Medical information was not sent via email.

“BJC ACO investigated the email transmission and has discovered no indication that anyone other than the intended and authorized recipient at the medical practice read or accessed the email. BJC ACO has taken steps to re-educate staff on the process for sending emails in a secure manner”, the statement confirmed.

According to the statement: BJC ACO has complied with all U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights notification requirements, including individual patient letters, public news release and website posting.

About BJC ACO

BJC HealthCare was the first provider in the St. Louis area and one of 89 U.S. health care providers selected in 2012 as an Accountable Care Organization by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS established ACOs that year to encourage groups of doctors, hospitals and other providers to coordinate health care services for Medicare patients and share in savings obtained through high-quality, well-coordinated care. BJC ACO currently coordinates care for approximately 40,000 patients in the BJC service area of metropolitan St. Louis, southern Illinois and mid-Missouri.

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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.

Data breach at Washington Hospital Healthcare

January 12th, 2016

Washington Township Health Care District (the District) mentioned that unauthorized access of a computer associated with the Washington Community Health Resource Library may have resulted in data breach. According to a Washington Hospital statement signed by Washington Hospital Healthcare Systems Chief of Compliance Kristin Ferguson, MSN, MHA, BS, RN CHC, the device in question is used to maintain library identification cards.

Upon learning this, we immediately initiated a comprehensive internal review to determine what information may have been accessed,Ferguson explains. We also retained an outside computer forensic firm to assist in our investigation. That investigation is now complete.

Affected information includes individualsnames, addresses, and drivers license numbers. However, Social Security numbers and health information were not affected. As per the healthcare statement, there is no reason to believe that the information was used inappropriately. The affected computer was not connected to the Districts network.

Potentially affected individuals are provided with a complimentary, one-year membership to identify protection services.

To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we are taking additional steps to strengthen and enhance the security of information on our network, including conducting a comprehensive review of our information security policies and procedures,the letter explained.

Alertsec strengthens security

Alertsec has created a web based encryption service that radically simplifies deployment and management of PC encryption by using industry leading Check Point Full Disk Encryption (former Pointsec) software.

Organizations, especially corporate giants, have to have an information security policy in place that proves they have taken the necessary steps and measures to safeguard the information they gathered. If these policies are not adhered to, the regulators may prosecute.

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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 Xpress’s Check Point Full Disk Encryption.