Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Medical records found in dumpster

August 7th, 2015

Personal documents including medical records were found in a dumpster in Taylorsville, Utah. The incident may cause potential data breach. According to the reports, the records appear to have come from Positive Adjustments, an out-of-business drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic.

Dr. Scott Cold, DDS, mentioned that his contractor found the documents in a dumpster being used for construction waste.

“These documents for these records were complete with patients names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, court documents, treatment documents, all dumped in my dumpster illegally,” Cold said.

As per the other tenants in the building where Positive Adjustments was located, the clinic has been empty for about six months. Cold notified police after finding the documents, but law enforcement said that it would be difficult to pursue charges beyond illegal dumping.

It is essential that PHI security remain a top priority even when a facility changes location. While a specific disposal method is not outlined in the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, putting PHI – in any form – in easily accessible areas is not acceptable.

“Covered entities must review their own circumstances to determine what steps are reasonable to safeguard PHI through disposal, and develop and implement policies and procedures to carry out those steps,” according to HHS. “In determining what is reasonable, covered entities should assess potential risks to patient privacy, as well as consider such issues as the form, type, and amount of PHI to be disposed.”

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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.

Two computers stolen from Arkansas Blue Cross

July 21st, 2015

Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield members sent out potential data breach notification letters after its computers were stolen. Computers belonged to Treat Insurance Agency, which solicits applications from individuals for insurance coverage through multiple insurers which includes Arkansas Blue Cross.  ABCBS did not reveal the details of information present on the computers.

“Treat Insurance Agency very much regrets that theft from their offices has affected Arkansas Blue Cross members and applicants,” Arkansas Blue Cross Senior Vice President Ron DeBerry said in a statement.

“To reduce the risks that any similar thefts might affect our valuable customers, we will request independent insurance agents to protect their computer records by using encryption

technology on all computers storing any applications for Arkansas Blue Cross.”

The computers contained sensitive information of 560 Arkansas Blue Cross applicants. According to the reports, affected individuals by this incident will receive one year of complimentary identity protection services. The details of the theft are not known.

“The notification required by this section shall be made after the law enforcement agency determines that it will not compromise the investigation,” the legislation states. “Notification under this section is not required if after a reasonable investigation the person or business determines that there is no reasonable likelihood of harm to customers.”

As the device is stolen, ABCBS explained that there is no way to determine if an unauthorized person attempted to access the patient information. Also, it did not specify if the stolen computers were encrypted.

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.

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.

 

Routine audit reveals data breach

June 25th, 2015

A Maryland medical center discovered that a PHI data breach had taken place, affecting approximately 1,000 patients during routine audit. Affected information includes patient names and demographic information, such as dates of birth, ages, gender, medical record numbers and health insurance information in a few cases. Clinical information, such as treatment and/or diagnosis information, may also have been included.

According to the reports, Meritus Health was running routine compliance and self-audit efforts. It found out that an employee at one of the company’s vendors may have accessed patient information outside of normal job functions.

The company added that few patients may have had their Social Security number accessed but believes that financial information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, was not affected.

“We deeply regret any concern this may cause you,” Meritus said. “To help prevent something like this from happening again, we are working to further strengthen controls related to vendor access to patient information and we are enhancing our existing system monitoring capabilities with regard to vendor access.”

Meritus Health spokeswoman Mary Rizk mentioned that there is no evidence of information misuse.

“The letters were prepared and sent as quickly as possible; as soon as the incident was discovered by our security/privacy audit and a thorough investigation conducted to determine any individuals who may have been affected,” Rizk said. “As soon as the investigation was complete, and the names of potentially affected individuals determined, the letters were prepared and sent.”

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.

 

 

Heart Group suffers computer breach

June 2nd, 2015

 

New York’s Buffalo Heart Group, LLP suffered data breach which potentially affected 500 to 600 patients. The exposed information includes patient names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, e-superbills, and appointment schedules. However, Social Security numbers, health information and financial information were not included.

“The recently completed internal investigation indicated insider wrongdoing resulted in the access of certain health information by unnamed third parties operating under the direction of a physician then associated with the medical practice and used by the physician to solicit patients in connection with the physician’s new employment,” according to a statement by the law firm Hurwitz-Fine that was published by WKBW Buffalo.

According to the statement:

The medical practice is working with the NYS Department of Health, Office of Professional Medical Conduct, on the matter, but emphasized that the computer system is secure, there has been no unauthorized access since June, 2014 and that it is unlikely that any precautionary or preventative measures are required to be taken by affected individuals.

Buffalo Heart Group has begun sending patient notification letters this week to affected individuals and has notified the federal Department of Health & Human Services.

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.

 

CareFirst database breached by cyber attackers

May 27th, 2015

The database which is used for members and other individuals to access CareFirst’s websites and online services was breached when cyber attackers gained access to it. The attack was discovered by the CareFirst IT security team. The company mentioned that it is working with Mandiant for IT examinations. The attack likely led to “limited unauthorized access to a database.

The affected information includes member-created user names created by individuals to access CareFirst’s website, members’ names, dates of birth, email addresses and subscriber identification numbers. Social Security Numbers, medical claims information and financial information were not affected.

“Out of an abundance of caution, CareFirst has blocked member access to these accounts and will request that members create new user names and passwords,” the statement read.

Affected individuals will receive notification with an activation code to safeguard their accounts from further damage.

“We deeply regret the concern this attack may cause”, CareFirst President and CEO Chet Burrell said in a statement. “We are making sure those affected understand the extent of the attack – and what information was and was not affected. Even though the information in question would be of limited use to an attacker, we want to protect our members from any potential use of their information and will be offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for those affected for two years.”

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.

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.

Missing encrypted devices leads to data breach

March 17th, 2015

Home health and hospice company Amedisys suffered data breach when its encrypted devices which consisted of computers and laptops went missing. Amedisys failed to find near about 142 devices. The incident came to notice when risk management process was conducted. The devices were assigned to Amedisys clinicians and other team members who left the company between 2011 and 2014.

The compromised information includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, insurance ID numbers, medical records and other personally identifiable data.

“The confidentiality and security of patient information has been and will remain a top priority for Amedisys,” Chief Compliance Officer at Amedisys Chief Compliance Officer Jeffrey Jeter explained. “We have worked actively with leading risk management and technology experts to inventory and assess devices that may contain personal or health information and ensure the integrity of our information security systems.”

Amedisys explained the situation on its website statement.

“All of the computers were encrypted, and the vast majority of them were used by licensed Amedisys clinicians to provide care for patients in their homes,” Amedisys stated, adding that it has not been able to rule out “unauthorized access to patient data.”

According to the statement:

We have received no reports of any hacking, fraud, or identity theft. However, as required by law and out of an abundance of caution for our patients, we are providing notice to all patients whose information was on devices because we cannot rule out unauthorized access to patient data on the devices.

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.

11M affected by Premera Health data breach

March 11th, 2015

Sophisticated cyber attack on Premera Blue Cross leads to health data breach affecting 11 million individuals. Company discovered data breach on Jan 29, 2015. Affected entities involve Premera Blue Cross, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, and the health insurer’s affiliate brands Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions, Inc. Also, members of other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans who sought treatment in Washington or Alaska were also affected by the cyber attack.

The breached information includes Applicants and members’ names, dates of birth, email addresses, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, member identification numbers, bank account information, and claims information, including clinical information.

“Individuals who do business with us and provided us with their email address, personal bank account number or social security number are also affected,” according to the Premera statement. “The investigation has not determined that any such data was removed from our systems.  We also have no evidence to date that such data has been used inappropriately.”

According to the statement, letters will be sent to affected individuals, and two years of free credit monitoring and identity protection services will also be offered to those applicants and members.

“As much as possible, we want to make this event our burden, not yours, by making services available to protect you and your information moving forward,” Roe said. “All of us here at Premera have been affected by this attack and we understand and share your concerns. Please know that we’re committed to making sure you get the tools and assistance you need to help protect you.”

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.

8.8 To 18.8M Individuals affected by data breach

February 22nd, 2015

The recent revelation by Anthem was the continuation of previous data breach which was caused by hacking incident. Anthem, Inc spokesperson stated that anywhere from 8.8 million to 18.8 million non-customers could be impacted. The affected information included names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment data that may have included income information.

Credit card information, bank account numbers or other financial data were not affected. Anthem is a member of an independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) national network and runs the BCBS healthcare plans in 14 states. Other states’ plans are independently run. Approximately 105 million individuals have coverage under the BCBS license in 37 different companies.

The Anthem spokesperson said that the facility’s investigation is in process, but it estimated that tens of millions of personal records were stolen during the breach. Federal and State investigations are also conducted along with internal investigation. Anthem will start sending notification to the affected individuals. As per the report, the Anthem’s drive was not encrypted which aggregated the breach.

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.

Sensitive information posted on Lone Star’s website

February 21st, 2015

Lone Star suffered data breach when sensitive data was posted on its website by the third party company working for them. According to the reports, exposed information included names, addresses, phone numbers and some dates of birth.

Lone Star CEO Rhonda Mudhenk told Roser that no financial information was compromised, and that the company at fault no longer works on Lone Star’s website.

Lone hired security expert to determine the parameters of breach. It is observed that many unauthorized individuals accessed the information. The clinic is offering one year credit monitoring services to the affected patients.

Mudhenk told Roser that Lone Star was taking the breach seriously, that the organization wanted to assure patients that no financial information was impacted, and that only five individuals had their full or partial Social Security number exposed.

Previous Lone Star breaches includes below incidents:

  • Lone Star suffered a data breach in May 2013 after an employee’s laptop was stolen affecting Protected Health Information (PHI)
  • The online exposure of information happened to the District Medical Group (DMG) affecting an unknown number of patient’s protected health information (PHI)

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.

PHI exposed on emails

November 22nd, 2014

Anthem Blue Cross members in California received emails from their health insurer having their own PHI in the subject line. It is not known whether the act of sending PHI in email is considered as data breach. The email was related to routine checkups and preventative screenings with their doctors. But the email also included information like age range and language along with possible medical screening tests – marked “Y” for recommended tests and “N” for tests not listed in the email.

This information is certainly sensitive, as you can imagine, because a call for certain tests, and frequency, could indicate a health problem,” wrote one female Anthem patient who received the email.

The woman said she received the following subject line from her health insurer:

Don’t miss out — call your doctor today; PlanState: CA; Segment: Individual; Age: Female Older; Language: EN; CervCancer3yr: N; CervCancer5yr: Y; Mammogram: N; Colonoscopy: N

“We know that patient privacy and security is just as important as having the most comprehensive medical records,” Mark Morgan, president of Anthem Blue Cross, told a reporter at the time of the HIE announcement. The incident occurred when the Anthem Blue Cross is working to further expand in the health IT world.

Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross has combined strength of 9 million customers in a new comprehensive network, Cal INDEX.

“Hospitals have moved away from using ordinary email because there are all sorts of ways in which it can be compromised, intercepted in transit, or seen by your email provider,” said Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist and lawyer at Stanford who specializes in data security and privacy.

He added, “It’s especially bad when the information is in the subject line because who knows where that could pop up — on a desktop, a phone.”

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.