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Healthcare Data Breaches and Patients

March 23rd, 2015

Healthcare breaches affect hospitals and patients alike, says survey by TransUnion. The organization can face huge penalties from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) due to data breach. The lost personal information takes time to recover and leads to loss of trust.

According to the recent survey, healthcare data breaches can also push patients away from the affected organization. TransUnion conducted an online survey of around 1200 US adults who received medical care.

“The hours and days immediately following a data breach are crucial for consumers’ perceptions of a healthcare provider,” TransUnion Healthcare President Gerry McCarthy said in a statement. “With the right tools, hospitals and providers can quickly notify consumers of a breach, and change consumer sentiments toward their brand.”

According to the survey-

  • Sixty-five percent of surveyed adults said that they would avoid providers that experience a healthcare data breach
  • Forty-six percent of those surveyed said they expect a notification within one day of the breach
  • Thirty-one percent said that they expect to receive a response or notification within one to three days
  • Seventy-three percent of patients ages 18 to 34 said they were likely to switch healthcare providers after a data breach

“Older consumers may have long-standing loyalties to their current doctors, making them less likely to seek a new health care provider following a data breach,” McCarthy said. “However, younger patients are far more likely to at least consider moving to a new provider if there is a data breach. With more than 80 million millennials recently entering the healthcare market, providers that are not armed with the proper tools to protect and recover from data breaches run the risk of losing potentially long-term customers.”

Get your personal as well as office laptops encrypted by Alertsec

Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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

Malware hits Advantage dental database

March 13th, 2015

Oregon based Advantage Dental suffered data breach when its internal database was attacked by malware. The unauthorized access affected 151,626 Advantage patients. The compromised information includes names, dates of birth, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and home addresses. According to the reports, treatment, payment, and other financial data were not accessed.

“Since terminating the illegal access, Advantage has been reviewing and improving its safeguards, implemented mitigation steps to prevent further access and has been working with law enforcement to properly determine the scope of the incident and any additional steps that might be required,” the statement read. “At this time, Advantage has no indication that the stolen information has been used for criminal activity, to include identity theft.”

Advantage Compliance Manager Jeff Dover told that the theft happened after the malware accessed an Advantage employee’s computer. Username and password that allows access to the membership database was stolen from there. This is a separate database from the one that contains financial and treatment information.

“Unfortunately this happened,” Dover said, adding that Advantage computers are equipped with anti-virus software, but sometimes new variations of a virus are not detected. “What you can do is be as transparent as you can, take responsibility for it, learn from it and then move on.”

After this incident, Advantage is no longer allowing access to its internal patient database from computers that are not within company clinics or its Redmond headquarters.

Get your personal as well as office laptops encrypted by Alertsec

Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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

Ophthalmology and Dermatology patients affected by data breach

January 25th, 2015

Laptop has been reported missing from Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) in California which led to the data breach. The affected individuals include approximately 7,900 ophthalmology and dermatology patients. The organization’s chief compliance officer, Jan Remm, said that the hospital wasted no time in informing local law enforcement.

“We are taking significant measures to safeguard patient privacy and to restrict unauthorized access to computers and devices that potentially contain patient data,” Remm said in a statement. “The privacy of our patients is a fundamental priority in our organization and part of our commitment to quality healthcare.”

The laptop was unencrypted. Remm stated that there will be in depth investigation of the problem. Notification letters are being mailed to potentially impacted patients. Affected information includes names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and health plan policy numbers.

Remm believes that laptop was not stolen for the information it contained.  According to the press release:

Remm said the hospital has significantly strengthened its inventory controls to prevent future loss of electronic devices, while cyber-security experts are currently encrypting all the organization’s computers and laptops to safeguard patient data.

Patients concerned about whether their information was stored on the laptop are encouraged to contact the RCRMC confidential assistance line staffed with professionals familiar with this incident.

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 necessary steps and measures to safeguard the information they gathered. If these policies are not adhered to, the regulators may prosecute.

Alertsec Xpress 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.

 

Data breach involves Veterans

December 23rd, 2014

Contractor’s flaw lead to the data breach which exposed sensitive information of around 7000 Veterans. The department of Veterans Affairs (VA) notified the incident and also told to the press that the vendor was providing home telehealth services to veterans. The breach was caused because of potential flaw in a vendor’s system.

“An investigation was immediately initiated and security scans were conducted by VA, which confirmed the concern,” the spokesman said. “The contracted vendor has assured VA that only vendor staff and VA staff had accessed this information. The security flaw in the vendor database was immediately corrected and VA continues to closely monitor the application.”

The affected information includes names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and VA patient identification numbers.  Veterans are offered complementary credit protection services.

The VA didn’t disclose the name of the vendor but according to the reports, this particular data leak till now has not caused security problems. The information was potentially seen after a database was inadvertently exposed online.

The latest data breach has raised yet another concern in VA’s data security aspects. Earlier, the agency has also failed its annual cybersecurity audit. VA Chief Information Officer Stephen Warren presented the audit results at a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.

“Specifically, by not keeping sufficient records of its incident response activities, VA lacks assurance that incidents have been effectively addressed and may be less able to effectively respond to future incidents,” the GAO report stated. “In addition, without fully addressing an underlying vulnerability that allowed a serious intrusion to occur, increased risk exists that such an incident could recur.”

Get your personal as well as office laptops encrypted by Alertsec

Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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