Archive for the ‘Security Flaw’ category

Data breach at rehabilitation facility

February 27th, 2017

Catalina Post-Acute and Rehabilitation recently announced data breach when paper files were left in an unattended area. The patient data and certain employee information were left temporarily vulnerable to possible unauthorized public access. Current or past residents and employees are encouraged to take steps to protect themselves.

Facility has mission statement provided on the website as, “Working together to create a sense of community, our dedicated and compassionate staff will strive to exceed your expectations and make a difference in the lives of those we serve by providing exceptional care and service, and remembering you are the reason we are here.”

The healthcare organization mentioned that it came to know about these files on December 5, 2016. Affected information included demographic information. Diagnoses and Social Security numbers in some cases. As per the OCR reporting tool, the incident affected 2,953 individuals.

Facility mentioned that it launched an investigation into the incident. Also, protocols in place relating to PHI storage and employee information are reviewed. It also mentioned that as per the internal investigation it appears that no patient or employee information was misused.

“Catalina Post-Acute and Rehabilitation is committed to the proper handling and protection of resident and employee information, and regularly assesses its systems and processes to ensure that this information is maintained and managed in accordance with State and Federal Law,” the online statement explained.

Facility also mentioned that consumers may request free copy of their credit report once 12 months from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. These agencies have central website to provide free credit report.  It has also provided contact number to answer questions and queries of affected individuals.

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Data breach due to email hack

February 20th, 2017

Foot and ankle surgeon Jay Berenter’s office announced data breach due to an email hack. Hackers sent some patients an email that the office employees claimed not to have sent. As per the reports, the email sent to Dr. Berenter’s contacts  contained a DocuSign document waiting for their review.

As per the statement, “Dr. Berenter takes the protection of information seriously and understands how important trust is in a physician-patient relationship.”

Dr. Berenter’s office immediately sent another email informing patients not to access the DocuSign email. After the incident came to notice, Dr. Berenter’s office took steps to secure the email account. It also hired forensic IT specialists.

Investigation was carried out to determine the extent of breach. it also checked whether any of the office’s systems were affected. Facility mentioned that the incident was determined to be limited to the email account only. Potentially affected information includes patient registration forms, prescriptions, and patient names.  As per the data breach reporting tool, the incident affected 569 individuals.

Facility has also hired forensic IT specialists to investigate the incident further. It is trying to make sure that no electronic medical records were accessed. Facility is implementing new email system. Additional internal administrative steps are taken to prevent a similar hack.

Federal agencies of California Attorney General and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services are notified about the incident. Facility believes that there is no evidence to say that information is misused.

Dr. Berenter’s office has provided contact information to answer queries. One year of complimentary identity theft protection is provided to potentially affected clients. It has also encouraged to place a free 90 day fraud alert on affected accounts.

“Protecting your information is incredibly important to Dr. Berenter, as is addressing this incident with the information and assistance you may need.”

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Unauthorized access and data breach

February 17th, 2017

Verity Health System based in California recently announced that an unauthorized access may have caused data breach. The incident affected personal information of more than 9,000 individuals.

Verity Health operates six hospitals which includes Seton in Daly City, Seton Coastside in Moss Beach, O’Connor in San Jose, St. Louise in Gilroy and two in Southern California. It also runs Verity Medical Foundation and Verity Physician Network. Verify Health was known as Daughters of Charity. It was renamed after taken over by investment firm BlueMountain Capital Management.

Verity Health mentioned that the access occurred on the Verity Medical Foundation-San Jose Medical Group website.  It mentioned that the website is no longer in use. Also, immediate steps were taken to secure it and protect it from further damage.

Affected information included patient names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and the last four digits of credit card numbers. Full credit card numbers and Social Security numbers were not included in the breach.

Verity mentioned that 9,000 got affected individuals in its statement. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, incident impacted 10,164 individuals.

“Verity Health System takes the security of our patients’ information seriously, and we regret that this incident occurred,” Verity Health CEO Andrei Soran said in a statement. “We took immediate steps to investigate this incident, notify the affected individuals and appropriate authorities, and ensure enhanced protection of our information systems going forward. We are working with a leading cyber-security firm to further evaluate the integrity of our information systems.”

Facility believes that there are no reports of misuse of information. It has also established a call center to answer queries. It is also offering one free year of credit monitoring services for potentially affected patients.

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Hackers demand ransom to open disabled door locks

February 12th, 2017

Austria’s four-star, 111-year-old Romantik Seehotel Jagerwirt mentioned that its internal systems were recently breached. Hackers disabled both the hotel’s electronic door locks and the reservation system. The attack against the facility means that the new keys couldn’t be created and also reservations couldn’t be checked or confirmed.

Hotel has to pay 2 Bitcoins (almost $2,000) to get control of the systems back to the hotel.

“The house was totally booked with 180 guests, we had no other choice,” hotel managing director Christoph Brandstaetter told The Local. “Neither police nor insurance help you in this case.”

This was the third cyber attack for the hotel, Brandstaetter said.  It also faced fourth attack as new computers were placed along with new security standards.

“The restoration of our system after the first attack in summer has cost us several thousand Euros,” Brandstaetter said. “We did not get any money from the insurance so far because none of those to blame could be found.”

“We are planning at the next room refurbishment for old-fashioned door locks with real keys,” he said. “Just like 111 years ago at the time of our great-grandfathers.”

As per the recent research survey of nearly 1,000 enterprise IT buyers, half believe that the security is crucial.  Still many are moving towards IOT. Around 90 percent of enterprises plan to increase IoT spending. The research showed that the IoT-related spending will increase by 33 percent.

Other finding include:

Fifty four percent said a lack of trained IoT staff is not an issue for their organizations.

Forty six percent said they’re having difficulty filling IoT-related positions.

“When it comes to IoT adoption, pragmatism rules,” 451 Research director Laura DiDio said in a statement. “The survey data indicates enterprises currently use IoT for practical technology purposes that have an immediate and tangible impact on daily operational business efficiencies, economies of scale and increasing the revenue stream.”

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Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements.

CoPilot security breach

January 28th, 2017

CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc. recently suffered a data breach. Facility mentioned that it detected unauthorized access at one of its databases. Potentially affected patients of this incident are notified. Facility has no information or evidence that the accessed data is misused.

“CoPilot recognizes the importance of protecting patient information and is committed to taking steps to prevent this type of incident from occurring again in the future, including the monitoring of its databases by K2 Intelligence, Inc., an independent and nationally renowned forensic IT firm. “

Incident affected database which included information on approximately 220,000 individuals. Patient names, addresses, health insurers, and Social Security numbers are included in the breach. Facility immediately launched an investigation into the incident. The investigation concluded that no sensitive PHI was accessed by an unauthorized party. It also found out that no financial information, medical treatment records or other sensitive information were accessed.

CoPilot issued letters to potentially affected patients informing them about the ways to protect themselves in the future. Facility has offered identity theft protection services to impacted individuals. They are also advised to regularly check their financial institution statements, account statements, and any other relevant accounts for possible unauthorized activity. Also, individuals are supposed to immediately report any suspicious activity.

The database was intended for healthcare professionals in the U.S. to let know patients on whether certain aspects of treatment are covered by insurance.

About CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc.

“CoPilot is a fully integrated healthcare administrative services and information technology organization supporting providers in understanding the complexities of health insurance benefits, coding, coverage, and payments for each of their patients to ensure optimal treatment and better healthcare outcomes. CoPilot leadership includes executives with managed care, government, healthcare IT, call center and innovative portal development/operations experience. “

Company has setup dedicated call center to address the queries of affected patients.

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Ukraine Blackout

January 27th, 2017

According to the Ukraine’s national power company Ukrenergo, blackout in Kiev was due to cyber attack. Initial reports suggested that workstations and SCADA systems at a 330-kilowatt substation were attacked by hackers. The Company didn’t mention the source from which the attack originated.

“The analysis of the impact of symptoms on the initial data of these systems indicates a premeditated and multi-level invasion,” Ukrenergo said.

“The attackers actually attacked more but couldn’t achieve all their goals.” Said Honeywell lead cyber security researcher Marina Krotofil.

Marina said that the attackers hid in the network for six months. She added, “The team involved had quite a few people working in it, with very serious tools and an engineer who understands the power infrastructure.”

In 2015, a similar attack was attributed to Russian hackers. It affected 225,000 people in western Ukraine while damaging power distribution equipment.

“Cyber attacks that cripple critical infrastructures continue to grow at a rapid pace — the repeated attacks on power plants in Ukraine, resulting in a loss of power to hundreds of thousands, [are] just the latest example,” Dtex Systems CEO Christy Wyatt told eSecurity Planet by email.

“It is crucial for all public and private sector organizations to focus on not only mitigating these attacks, but preventing nation state actors from gaining access to their networks in the first place,” Wyatt added.

Recent Survey Tripwire of 200 IT professionals working for governments has below findings –

Ninety-eight percent believe smart cities are at risk for cyber attacks

Thirty-eight percent said smart grids have the greater cyber security risks

Twenty percent said they have smart city initiatives

Fifty-five percent says they don’t have enough cybersecurity resources

“Security isn’t usually glamorous, and it can be difficult to    sell the need for added time and cost on a project, even when it’s to ensure that services are secure,” Tripwire senior director of IT security and risk strategy Tim Erlin said in a statement. “Smart city initiatives are pushing the technological envelope for urban infrastructure management, and it’s clear from the survey results that cyber security is being left out of the conversation.”

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Cybersecurity breach at Virginia hospital

January 23rd, 2017

Sentara Healthcare announced data breach when one of its third party vendors suffered a cybersecurity breach. The incident affected personal health information. Vascular and thoracic procedures occurring between 2012 and 2015 at a Sentara facility where involved in this breach. Potentially accessed information includes patients’ names, medical records, and Social Security numbers.

“We assure our patients that we are committed to the security of the personal information we maintain and are taking this matter very seriously. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, the vendor has informed us that it is enhancing its system security. In addition, Sentara continually strengthens policies and procedures and invests in technologies which protect our information technology systems.”

Sentara started the investigation by reaching third party vendor. It also called upon law enforcement. It has started sending and mailing advisory to affected individuals.

Facility suggested that the affected patients should check for any signs of possible fraud. Also, they are advised to review account statements and get free credit reports. Organisation has provided resources to help for future security.

“If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe your personal information has been misused, you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Attorney General’s office in your state. You can obtain information from these sources about steps an individual can take to avoid identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts and security freezes.  You should also contact your local law enforcement authorities and file a police report.  Obtain a copy of the police report in case you are asked to provide copies to creditors to correct your records.”

Sentara is one of the nation’s top integrated healthcare systems. It works on a not-for-profit system which includes imaging centers, nursing and assisted-living centers, outpatient campuses, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, home health and hospice agency, a 3,800-provider medical staff and four medical groups. It also provides medical transport ambulances and nightingale air ambulance.

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Alertsec is powered by Check Point Endpoint Security products, which are positioned in the leaders quadrant in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Data Protection.

Data breach at Delaware

January 21st, 2017

Sixteen self-insured customers and nineteen thousand Highmark members were vulnerable due to a potential attack at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Delaware.The Delaware Department of Insurance released the information to the public after the incident.

Summit Reinsurance Services, Inc., in Indiana and BCS Financial in Illinois were the two subcontractors involved in the breach. Highmark didn’t specify the explicit nature of the breach. According to the reports, this incident is one of the several data breaches which is related to Summit Reinsurance Services, Inc. in 2016.

Early in November 2016, Summit reported a ransomware attack which impacted thousands of current and former Black Hawk College employees. Affected information contained PHI, including Social Security numbers and health insurance information.

There was also a potential data breach at Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc. A ransomware compromised sensitive patient information including Social Security numbers.

Trinidad Navarro, the Delaware Insurance Commissioner mentioned that they are looking into the breach.

“I would like to ensure Delaware consumers that the Department of Insurance takes this matter seriously and is currently investigating how this occurred,” Navarro said. “I have directed my staff to closely monitor the situation as it develops. Many Delawareans have received mailed correspondence from Summit Reinsurance explaining the breach. Unfortunately, we fear that many may have misinterpreted or inadvertently discarded the latter as some form of sales ad.”

The Delaware Department of Insurance is helping affected patients by providing resources to answer any questions.

“The Commissioner has ordered an investigation into the reported breach. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is cooperating with the Delaware Department of Insurance to resolve the matter.”

“If consumers have received a letter from SummitRe regarding this situation and have questions, they may contact the Delaware Department of Insurance.”

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HIPAA violated by VA Senator

January 19th, 2017

A Virginia State Senator act of unlawful sharing of patient information led to an investigation into alleged HIPAA breach. As per the reports, senator during her 2015 campaign used patient contact information to send political solicitations. It violated federal health privacy rules.

Senator Dunnavant sent emails and print letters to 1500 patients during the 2015 election campaign. She ran in a four-way Republican primary for the 12th District seat. US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) mentioned that senator broke federal HIPAA law due to the use of patients’ information and her decision to disclose the same with her campaign manager.

Conservative blogger Tom White and an unnamed individual filed a complaint against Dunnavant after receiving the letter during her campaign. HHS investigators mentioned that the case is closed. They mentioned that senator Dunnavant will not face any penalties or fines as she took prompt actions to minimize the damage.

“For me, it’s really all about the fact that none of my patients were harmed,” Dunnavant said.

She also added that it is regrettable. The senator said that she ran the letter by her medical practice board and lawyers. They took no issue with it. She also mentioned the sharing of information with campaign manager was done under HIPAA’s Privacy and Security rule. Investigators denied the legitimacy of her claim.

“Dr. Dunnavant’s position that the disclosure and use of (protected health information) to and by the campaign committee was strictly related to treatment or health care operations is not supported by the evidence,” Barbara J. Holland, the mid-Atlantic regional manager for the HHS OCR, wrote in a letter dated Dec. 6. “The letter expressly encouraged patients to participate in campaign activities and invited patients to contact the campaign for additional information.”

HHS mentioned that they are willing to take additional steps if more complaints or evidence of misconduct comes forward in the future.

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Ransomware attacks

January 13th, 2017

The Susan M. Hughes Center recently announced a data breach due to ransomware attack on its computer system. The incident has potentially affected patients. Facility has immediately launched an investigation. Also, they have reset all passwords and removed the infected server from the system.

A Forensic firm is employed for investigation. It determined that an unknown person accessed server files. The affected information included patient names, telephone numbers, dates of service, types of service or treatment, and amounts paid.

Facility mentioned that there is no evidence of misuse of patient information. Also, sensitive PHI including Social Security numbers or account numbers have not been accessed.

The Hughes Center has started mailing advisory letters to potentially impacted patients. Also, the facility established a call center to answer queries.

“We regret any inconvenience or concern this may have caused our patients. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future we are working with a security firm to enhance the security of our systems.”

Another ransomeware attack involves Summit Reinsurance Services, Inc. who alerted Alliant Health Plans, Inc. of a ransomware attack on its servers.  The affected server contained patient data of more than 1,000 Alliant members.  Facility mentioned that the investigation didn’t provided any evidence of data misuse. Also, Alliant mentioned that its members are at very low risk of data breach consequences.

Affected information included Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and claim-focused medical records.

Summit is updating its policies, procedures and protections for member information to minimise the damage.It also working on other precautionary measures to prevent further incident. Alliant will be continuing encryption to prevent foreign access of sensitive information.

Summit is notifying the affected individuals and also offering one year of identity theft protection to potentially impacted Alliant members.

“As always, Alliant and Summit recommend taking steps to prevent identity theft by monitoring your credit reports for any unusual activity.”

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Alertsec’s cloud-based information security service provides an easy and convenient way to protect information on your organization’s laptops and computers.