AlertSec Xpress

Claims document found in employee storage unit

October 18th, 2016

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) recently suffered data breach when veterans claims documents were included in the documents found in a former DVS employee’s storage unit.

020614-N-0552D-001 San Diego, CA (Jun. 14, 2002) -- Mr. Stephen C. Dunn, Deputy Comptroller for the U.S. Navy's Space and  Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), recently received the prestigious "William A. Jump Meritorious Award for Excellence in Public Administration.Ó  U.S. Navy photo by Corinna Duron.  (RELEASED)

According to the facility, exact amount of claims found from the employee’s storage unit was not known. Investigation is going on as technical experts are reviewing all the materials. For now, all the documents appeared to be dated between 2011 and mid-2015. Also, they are  exclusively from the DVS benefits office at McGuire VAMC.

The experts are also working to determine the number of impacted veterans, their identities and the status of their claims. Facility mentioned that the process will take time of one week.

Thomas Herthel, the agency’s director of benefits, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that 20 to 30 boxes of documents were recovered and included “everything from claims to medical records to miscellaneous correspondence.”

Facility also mentioned that the former employee worked at the agency from January 2012 to August 25, 2015.

“Those claims were reviewed, and DVS contacted affected veterans to advise them and provide assistance,” DVS mentioned. “DVS terminated the employee at that time and has since assigned a new office manager for that location.”

Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey mentioned that he was deeply concerned about the veterans whose information was mishandled. He also added that his team is working to ensure those veterans receive the necessary benefits.

“At the beginning of this administration, we identified a vulnerability in the Commonwealth’s claims process, and we began implementing a solution to this serious deficiency,” Harvey continued. “Regrettably, our fears were justified, and the danger we were working so hard to address was already a reality. We stand ready to assist any and all veterans impacted, and we are determined to prevent any similar mishandling of information from happening in the future.”


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

Cloud Security Survey

October 14th, 2016

A latest survey of 643 IT security professionals in the U.S. And Canada found that around forty eight percent of respondents do not scrutinize the cloud for malware. Another 12 percent are uncertain if they do or not. cloud

The survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Netskope, also found that while 49 percent of company applications are actually saved in the cloud, only 45 percent of these applications are known, approved or authorized by IT. Over 50% of respondents said that the  chance of a data breach is looming over the industry. Nearly 20 percent are not able to ascertain whether they have experienced a violation or not.

“These data confirm that while cloud adoption is very much on the rise, organizations still lack confidence in the cloud’s ability to protect sensitive information,” Netskope founder and CEO Sanjay Beri said in a statement.

“With the rise of cloud threats like accidental data exposure, malware and ransomware aimed at exfiltrating data and extracting financial gain from sensitive data, IT teams need more robust intelligence, protection, and remediation to protect their data from breach or loss,” Beri added.

Many said the violation happened when information was shown to a user from the cloud-based service, either unintentionally or deliberately. Respondents concerns about cloud protection threats are loss or theft of intellectual property, loss of control over the security of information and end user activities, and compliance breaches.

A different Blancco Technology Group study in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Germany, France, India, Japan and China found that 26 percent of participants are not confident or fairly comfortable with the security cloud services offers.

“Whenever storing data offsite with a cloud provider, organizations must be diligent in knowing where their data is being stored, how it’s being protected and when it needs to be removed (in the case of migrating data to a new vendor or consolidating data centers, for example),” Blancco Technology Group chief strategy officer Richard Stiennon said in a statement.


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

Anomaly Detection

October 11th, 2016

With the price of a data breaches going up to 29 percent as compared to 2013, business leaders are under increasing pressure to execute security options in finding hazards developed in cyber security landscape. Data violations mostly go undetected for weeks, months and possibly even years. Organizations need to know kind of current security threat looming over them. Established network management tools and systems in many cases are seen as the conventional approach to organizational security. privacy

Anomaly detection is about empowering proactive incident result management by giving the capability to track down possible hazards before a straightforward violation or uncommon behaviour escalates into a disastrous event. Organizations should consider a number of variables when assessing incident response options.

Manual Tracking Procedures

Incident response teams regularly do manual approach to the security tracking. This procedure is incredibly time intensive. It’s also predisposed towards human error, due to judgment and emotions, leading to results that are wrong and ineffective. Also, an advanced assault will not be probably indicated by one metric.

Impact of Shadow IT

IT and incident response teams now have to worry about workers working from multiple devices, connecting to multiple networks and using countless applications that live through corporate data centers and clouds providers. Security teams need to adopt new strategy for prevention and risk detection.

Do not Follow the Rules

In an effort to automate some of the manual work required with anomaly detection, businesses frequently rely heavily on thresholds and rules. Nevertheless, this strategy comes along with its own distinctive set of challenges. For instance, thresholds and rules are not effective and of little use on regular data. Also, this strategy may create lots of unneeded noise that diverts the focus of incident response teams and security advice.


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 software.

Sensitive information on internet affects 300k

October 9th, 2016

Central Ohio Urology Group (COUG) recently suffered data breach. The incident may have exposed the information of patients, employees, and individuals who got the services from the facility. virus_blaster

As per the statement, “We want to make affected individuals aware of steps they can take to guard against fraud or identify theft. Individuals can carefully check their credit reports for accounts they did not open or for inquiries from creditors they did not initiate, and should call the credit agency immediately if they see something they do not understand. Any suspicious activity on a credit report should be reported to the local police or sheriff’s office. When contacting law enforcement, individuals should file a police report for identity theft and get a copy of it, since it may be necessary to give copies of the police report to creditors to clear up fraudulent records.”

Affected information included names, addresses, telephone number(s), emails, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license/state identification numbers, patient identification numbers, medical and health plan information, account information, diagnoses or treatment information, health insurance information and identifiers, and employment-related information.

According to the reports, an unauthorized individual made the files and documents live on the internet. Online drive was accessible on August 2, 2016. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, data of 300,000 individuals was breached.

COUG removed the information from the drive within hours and local law enforcement were contacted. Facility also hired a forensics firm to investigate the incident.

“We carefully reviewed the posted files and documents to determine what types of information had been put online and which individuals may have been affected,” the statement reads. “Additionally, we installed network monitoring software, implemented a new firewall, added access restrictions and began updating system protections to help prevent this type of incident from recurring in the future.”

One year of complimentary identity protection services to individuals is provided to the potentially affected individuals.


Alertsec is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information.

Ransomware and data breach

October 7th, 2016

Urgent Care Clinic of Oxford in Mississippi recently suffered data breach due to ransomware attack.  According to the reports, the server was attacked in early July. The facility came to know about the incident on August 2, 2016. data-safety

As per the statement, “ We understand this may pose an inconvenience to you, and we sincerely regret that this situation has occurred.”

Facility regained control of the server and shut down its remote access. It is taking precaution to prevent the same type of incident. Affected information included patients’ names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other personal information. Any health information on file was also accessed.

“The investigation revealed it is very likely that the attack was carried out by criminal Russian hackers,” Urgent Care said in a letter signed by Dr. Willis Dabbs and Dr. David Coon. “Unfortunately, we cannot say which patients specifically may have been affected by this data breach.”

Facility did not specify number of affected patients by the incident. It has urged individuals to regularly check all credit and bank accounts and report any suspicious activity. Facility is also offering one year of complimentary identity protection services.

“We understand this may pose an inconvenience to you, and we sincerely regret that this situation has occurred,” Dabbs and Coon wrote. “Urgent Care is committed to providing quality care and service to all its patients, and that includes keeping your personal information as safe and secure as possible.”

Direction to place fraud alert:

A fraud alert is a consumer statement added to your credit report. This statement alerts creditors of possible fraudulent activity within your report as well as requests that they contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name. Once the fraud alert is added to your credit report, all creditors should contact you prior to establishing any account in your name.


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

HHS funding for cybersecurity efforts

October 5th, 2016

Health and Human Services (HHS) was awarded a total of $350,000 in corporate agreements to improve further information sharing in the industry. It will also improve to tackle cybersecurity threats in both private and public health sector.  cyber-security

It is found out that many smaller healthcare organizations do not have the same facilities and methods to prevent or respond to cybersecurity attacks. HHS streamlined cyber threat information sharing will improve the situation. The process will help facilities send cyber threat data to a single entity. Stake holders affected by the attack are then informed.

“The agreements also will help build the capacity of NH-ISAC to receive cyber threat information from member healthcare entities,” HHS wrote. “Information about any system breaches and ransomware attacks will be relayed through a more robust cyber information sharing environment, as will information about steps healthcare entities should take to protect their health information technology systems.”

The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) of Ormond Beach, Florida reported that they received corporate agreement for $250,000 from the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Funding of $100,000 from HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) was given to NH-ISAC.This corporate agreement will help to build the infrastructure necessary to eliminate cyber threat.

National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology Dr. Vindell Washington said in a statement, “Electronic health information security is essential to the evolving healthcare ecosystem. The HHS funding will assist organizations of all sizes share pertinent information to the latest healthcare cybersecurity issues.”

“Creating a more robust exchange about cybersecurity threats will help the industry prevent, detect and respond to these threats and better protect patients’ privacy and personally identifiable information.” HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie said.


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

Insider Threat

October 3rd, 2016

According to the latest survey of 500 IT professionals, one in three respondents said that their business has experienced an insider strike in the last year. Other observation includes: survillance

  • Seventy four percent said that their business is exposed to insider threats
  • Fifty six percent said insider flows are becoming more regular
  • Seventy one percent said they are most worried about inadvertent flows resulting from the use of unsecured mobile devices, accidental outside sharing, and unsanctioned programs
  • Sixty eight percent are worried because of threat caused by neglect
  • Sixty one percent are worried because of threat caused by malicious insiders

Privileged users have emerged as the biggest security threat which represents 60 percent of businesses. Respondents said rise in the number of apparatus with access to sensitive information, inadequate data protection options, worker training, and more information leaving the network perimeter are causing more insider threat. Cloud storage programs and cooperation software are seen as the most exposed.

“Adoption of cloud and BYOD are positive developments, but organizations that have limited cross-app visibility will struggle to detect anomalous behavior and need to rethink their approach to data security,” Bitglass CEO Nat Kausik said in a statement. “The reality is that cloud apps have made data more readily accessible and insider threats more prominent — it’s up to the enterprise to put adequate data controls and policies in place to secure vital data.”

Twenty three percent said it can take them a month or more to identify an insider violation

Sixty six percent said stopping insider risks is more challenging than shielding against outside dangers

A different RedOwl study of 281 participants at Black Hat 2016 found that 47 percent of participants had experienced an insider event of some sort in the previous year.

When asked who in their business is intrigued in mitigating insider risks, answers contained- typical workers, executives, board of directors, human resources, and IT and security teams. Impact of insider events are standing legal repercussions, IP loss, financial loss, negative cultural impact, and brand damage.


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 software.

Email error leads to data breach

September 29th, 2016

St. Elizabeth Physicians recently announced data breach. Disclosed information included email addresses. Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and any other personal health or identification information were not affected. data-2

“St. Elizabeth Physicians is the multi-specialty physician organization of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, one of the oldest, largest, and most respected medical providers in the Greater Cincinnati region. “

According to the statement, “It inadvertently released the email addresses of 674 individuals in an email sent by its Weight Management Center inviting the recipients to a vitamin presentation and open forum meeting.”

The incident was the result of human error when the email sender did not blind copy the recipients. It allowed all email addresses to be visible by all recipients.

Facility mentioned that it is offering affected individuals one year of complimentary identity theft monitoring.

“St. Elizabeth Physicians has promptly and thoroughly investigated the matter and has reviewed its procedures,” the statement read. “Corrective action has been pursued to avoid this from happening in the future.”

“St. Elizabeth Physicians takes patient confidentiality very seriously and is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of all patient information. St. Elizabeth Physicians regrets that this incident has occurred and is committed to preventing future occurrences. “

Email mistakes leads to data breaches. Below are the few examples which involve emails.

A Goldman Sachs contractor accidentally sent a message to a email address which was meant to be sent at The email contained a confidential document. As per the statement by the Goldman Sachs, “ document contained highly confidential brokerage account information” and it has asked Google to help it prevent a “needless and massive” data breach.

Another example includes insurance brokerage firm Willis North America accidentally sending a spreadsheet to a group of employees enrolled in the company medical plan’s Healthy Rewards Program. Affected confidential information, including employees’ names, email addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, employee ID numbers, office locations, and the details of their medical insurance plans.


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 software.

Data breach due to printing error

September 26th, 2016

A California health system recently announced data breach due to internal printing error. It may have exposed a limited amount of patient information. Facility is notifying 1,000 members affected by the incident. printer

Facility mentioned that the printing error took place on October 7, 2015 which involved “CalOptima MediCal members with diabetes receiving a health incentive survey that may have included an extra survey meant for another member.”

CalOptima found about the incident on October 8, 2015. It has stopped all printing work but the surveys which were already mailed were unable to be retrieved. As per the OCR list,  around 1,000 individuals as having been affected.

Affected information included the member’s first and last name, Client Identification Number (CIN) and, in some cases, information about the member’s diabetes diagnosis. Data such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or financial account numbers were not present in the survey.

“Your privacy is very important to us, and we apologize for this mistake,” CalOptima stated. “We have reviewed and changed our procedures and practices to minimize the risk of this event happening again. Extra training was provided to the business unit where the error occurred.”

Role of human error in security data breach:

The threats of human error by insider mistakes is real. Many incidents occur due to mistakes which can be avoided. Double checking and making the process fool proof can help to avoid security incidents. These mistakes are costly because it involves sensitive data. The greatest impact of human error is introduction of malware in the system.

According to the recent research, around 59 percent agree that most security threats are the outcome of innocent mistakes of employees instead of malicious abuse of privileges. Many tools are available in the market. It avoids such incidents which can lead to catastrophic events for the company.


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

Ransomeware attack

September 23rd, 2016

Oklahoma-based Saint Francis Health System recently announced data breach when its server was accessed by an unauthorized party. The reports suggests that patient information was accessed by the outside intruder. The facility also mentioned it received an email on September 7, 2016 that the incident took place. Spokesperson Sevan Roberts said that there was a demand for payment for the information by the anonymous individuals/individual. comp-hacking

“Saint Francis decided not to act on the demand because payment does not guarantee or prevent data from being disclosed,” said a Saint Francis statement. “The health system understands the importance of protecting our patients’ information, and deeply regrets that this occurred.”

Roberts also added that the information on the server affected approximately 6,000 names and addresses. Social Security numbers, driver’s license and financial information were not present on the server. After the incident, the server has been disabled. Facility is working with local law enforcement.

“Saint Francis has also been working with a leading forensics firm to investigate this incident and look for ways to enhance our existing security measures,” the statement read. “Notification letters are being mailed to those individuals who may have been affected and complimentary participation in identity monitoring service is provided.”

Is it a good idea to negotiate the ransom?

Ransomware is one of the threat looming over different sectors of industries. All types of malware attack make the news. Malware is a piece of software that encrypts your data. Data is unencrypted when ransom demand is met. The intruder provides the  key to decrypt their data generally after the payment.

Many facilities pay ransom because it is safest and quickest way. The example includes many facilities like Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre. Allen Stefanek, the Chief Operating Officer said that the ransom was paid, stating that “the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key. In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.”


Alertsec 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.