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Improper disposal of paper documents leads to Lawsuit

May 12th, 2015

A lawsuit was filed against a Chicago area storage company, after it allegedly exposed sensitive patient information by dumping paper records in a public dumpster. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit when improper disposal of paper records breached patient names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal information.

FileFax Inc. “failed to provide safe, secure and proper collection, retention, storage and destruction of Suburban Lung records, Madigan explained.

“This company brazenly violated the law and jeopardized the personal information and privacy of thousands of Illinois residents,” she said.

Earlier, Suburban Lung Associates had contracted with FileFax to maintain and destroy patient medical records. Affected individuals had been patients at Suburban Lung Associates. The facility operates in numerous north and northwest suburban Chicago locations.

According to Madigan, FileFax violated Illinois’ Personal Information Protection Act. The act was passed to ensure consumers’ personal information protection in the state. The lawsuit states that the company violated Illinois’ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. According to the lawsuit statement, in some instances, FileFax disposed of Suburban Lung records in an unlocked garbage dumpster outside of its facility that was accessible to the public.

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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.

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Sony like attack possible

April 6th, 2015

According to the security researchers, many hackers across the globe can launch Sony like attack. Around 90% of the companies can suffer possibilities of hacking considering their current security standards.

There is no shortage of technically proficient people willing to launch such an attack, said Jon Miller, a former hacker who now serves as vice president of strategy at Cylance, an antivirus software maker.

“There are probably a couple thousand, three, four, five-thousand people that could do [the Sony] attack today,” Miller tells “60 Minutes”‘ Steve Croft in an interview airing Sunday evening on CBS television stations.

Complicating things for companies is the sheer number of computers that must be protected, usually from the employees operating them, said Kevin Mandia, chief operating officer of FireEye, the anti-malware company that worked with Sony to mitigate the effects of the hack.

“The advantage goes to the offense in cyber,” Mandia says. The defense must defend every computer, thousands in some cases, but “the offense side thinks, ‘I only need to break into one and I’m on the inside.’…Nation-state threat actors, or hackers, target human weakness, not system weakness.”

The Sony security breach was more serious that it was perceived. Hackers leaked the personal information which includes Social Security numbers of more than 47,000 celebrities, freelancers, and current and former Sony employees. They also leaked movies which were not released, as well as embarrassing emails between Sony Pictures executives, among other internal documents.

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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.

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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.