data encryption

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

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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Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by CheckPoint and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Break In causes data breach

February 14th, 2017

Wichita, Family Medicine East, Chartered based in Kansas reported that it suffered data breach due to theft of an unencrypted desktop computer and printer from its facility. As per the reports, an individual got into the building by breaking an exterior window. Family Medicine mentioned that police have not yet caught the thief. Also, stolen items are not recovered.

Family East mentioned that “a significant number contained images of typed office notes dictated by Family Medicine East physicians during 2002 and 2003.”

Affected information included patient names, dates of birth, appointment dates, and the name or initials of the physician or PA who saw patients were in the notes. Social Security numbers and addresses are not included in the breach. Letters written to other physicians discussing a Family Medicine referral were included for few. Letters were also identified by name and information about their medical condition.

“[The notes and letters] were typed by transcriptionists engaged for that purpose in 2002 and 2003,” Family East said in its online statement. “The files remained on the computer that was stolen as a result of an employee’s oversight, and were not detected during a number of risk analyses undertaken prior to the theft, as part of efforts to secure all individually identifiable health information.”

Individuals who got treated in 2002 or 2003 are asked “to take steps to eliminate or minimize potential harm that could be caused by the theft.” Steps also include obtaining credit reports and monitoring their financial and baking accounts for activities.

Facility mentioned that it is offering complimentary credit monitoring services to potentially affected patients. It also said that all computers and systems will be encrypted.

“While Family Medicine East hopes to recover the stolen computer, this may not be possible,” the statement explained. “As part of its ongoing effort to prevent breaches of protected health information, Family Medicine East began the process of encrypting health information stored on laptop computers used by the doctors, PAs and nurses for patient care some time ago.”

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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.

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.

Funding for bug bounty vendor

February 9th, 2017

As per the recent news, one can make money in the rewarding business of security researchers for finding security vulnerabilities. HackerOne published that they have raised a $40M Series C round of funding. Total funding received till date for the San Francisco based company is $74 Million.

Dragoneer Investment Group led new round of funding. It will be used to help HackerOne grow its business.

“HackerOne is at the forefront of the burgeoning bug bounty movement,” Marc Stad, Founder and Managing Partner of Dragoneer Investment Group, said in a statement. “It is borderline silly for a company not to utilize a bug bounty platform given the immediate reduction in security vulnerabilities and the relatively low price point compared to other security options.”

Rice, co-founder and CTO of HackerOne in the video interview mentioned the statistics of business growth. Also, discussed the bugs found by HackerOne’s community of researchers.

Hacking the pentagon program was one of the major successes of HackerOne. The results were positive. It has 1,400 security researchers participating in the program. It also discovered 138 serious vulnerabilities which were fixed quickly. Also, the U.S. Department of Defense also got involved in the program.

HackerOne faces competition from bug bounty vendor Bugcrowd. The rival has raised $24 million in funding to date which includes $15 million Series B round.

“When I started the company in 2013, I spent most of my time explaining what a bug bounty was to people,”Bugcrowd founder and CEO Casey Ellis said. “I don’t have to do that anymore.”

“How we do things today is we prove a concept manually first, apply human intelligence to the problem set and then take the repeatable learnings and codify that,” Ellis said.

The market of buy bounty is competitive but there is demand. Rice also mentioned that more bugs have been found by third party bug bounty companies as compared to vendors.

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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.

Health Facility suffers email hack

February 7th, 2017

Multicare Health System recently announced data breach due to an email hack. The incident potentially affected 1,200 patients. The Washington health system mentioned that it has no information at this time to believe that any patient personal health information was accessed or misused in any way.

Facility will send the notification to affected patients. Also, patients have been advised to review their Explanation of Benefits statements and to remain vigilant to signs of irregularities related to their health insurance.

MultiCare stated that an unauthorized individual gained access to an employee email account. The information in the emails likely contained personal patient information ranging from addresses to account balances. Facility added that financial information and Social Security numbers were not present on the affected email account.

After the incident the affected email account has been secured. Password has been changed. Facility initiated an investigation into the incident and has provided contact information for patients concerned about the status of their information.

About Multicare:

“MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 10,000 employees and a comprehensive network of services throughout Pierce, South King, Thurston and Kitsap counties.

Facilities heritage dates back to the founding of Tacoma’s first hospital in 1882. Since then, it has grown to meet the ever-changing needs of our region-always focusing on excellence, innovation and patient care.”

When  email account gets hacked one should follow below steps to minimize the damage:

Initial step is to assess the damage done by hackers.

Visit the website of your email provider and try to regain the access.

Change the password by authorised method. Check inbox and trash for any password reset emails, which were not initiated by you.

Scan your computer with anti virus software. Many emails are hacked today to install virus on your computer.

Review your personal settings.

Validate the source  of any program, game and app before downloading it.

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

Hackers and Sensitive Data

March 4th, 2016

In today’s hacking world, hackers can gain access to sensitive data with little efforts. “It’s a bit depressing,” said Chandra Rangan, vice president marketing, HPE Security Products at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, discussing some of the findings published in HPE’s Cyber Risk Report 2016.

“Attackers are lazy. They want maximum bang for the buck, so they will go for low-hanging fruit,” Rangan said, noting that the most exploited bug in 2015 was over five years old. It was also the top bug in 2014.

As per the new findings, the top 10 vulnerabilities leveraged by attackers in 2015 are more than a year old. Half of them are at least five years old.

According to Rangan, there is a shift in which applications, rather than servers or operating systems, are used as a primary attack vector.

Mobile Insecurity

As per the recent survey:

  • 95 percent of newly discovered malware samples are found on Microsoft Window
  • 42 percent of exploits targeting Microsoft Window
  • 18 percent of the total exploits targeting Android
  • 12 percent of exploits on Java
  • Microsoft Office 11 percent
  • Adobe attacked by 14 percent, evenly divided between Flash and Reader exploits
  • 75 percent of the mobile apps scanned by HPE had at least one vulnerability

Some software developers “seem to be making a tradeoff between speed and security,” Rangan said. “There is a whole new crop of app developers, and they are saying ‘how quickly can I get this app to market and how quickly can I monetize it?’ When you are in that mode, you are less likely to use the development processes and methodologies that include multiple security checks.”

“You do not need to make a tradeoff, and you do not need to use the old-school waterfall development model. There are plenty of technologies out there where you can build security into the very fabric of your apps.”

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.

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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.

Cybersecurity Insights from SC Congress

March 2nd, 2016

Recent SC Congress emphasised on Cyber insurance and new approaches to security patches.

Experts discussed some of the current and emerging issues in cybersecurity.

Cyber Insurance

Most of the panel on cyber insurance believed that the legal wording of policies, exclusions and other factors tend to make it a pricey policy which may not provide the expected benefits in the event of a data breach.

“I’ve never been a fan of insurance; getting the right coverage is always an uphill fight,” said Winn Schwartau, CEO of The Security Awareness Company. “We’ve been at war, but acts of nation-states are excluded by insurance, as are acts of war and acts of God. Is ISIS a nation-state?”

Same Old Cybersecurity Threats

Even though there are new, deeper threats, many cybersecurity vulnerabilities have existed for years which also exists today.

According to Jeffery Ingalsbe, CISO of broker management firm Flexible Plan Investments, in many way, there is nothing new under the sun.

Security Patches

“The problem is that companies are continuing to patch the same way. They’ve had problems with organization and prioritization of patches. They need to understand how to patch and unpatch so as not to impact the users,” Rushing said.

High Cybersecurity Standards

When it comes to securing the network, companies need to score closer to 99.9999 percent in order to be considered safe.

Test Security Software

Don’t try to integrate during proof of concept, or there could be other network issues, Richard Lafosse, CISO for Cook County, Ill added. “Evaluate more than one vendor and remember that the contract terms are king.”

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.

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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.

Ransomware attack and data breach

February 24th, 2016

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC) was on the verge of data breach but paid $17,000 after a ransomware attack. According to the reports, the cyber attack encrypted its EHR files and demanded the sum of money in exchange for the encryption key.

HPMC believes that there is no sign of information misuse stored on the EHR. HPMC discovered the breach after staff members got issues accessing parts of the hospital network. After a thorough investigation, hospital believed that it had fallen victim to a malware attack that kept them from accessing patient medical files stored in their EHR.

Forty bitcoins, an equivalent of $17,000 was asked as a ransom amount. As per HPMC, It paid the $17,000 ransom because that was typically the quickest and easiest way to regain access to its EHR files.

Hospital gained full access to the files. It was completely cleansed of the malware and checked for adequate security standards.

According to the  CEO and president Allen Stefanek –

I am very proud of the dedication and hard work of our staff who have maintained the highest level of service, compassion and quality of care to our patients throughout this process,” Stefanek wrote. “I am also thankful for the efforts of the technical staff as the EMR systems were restored, and their continued efforts as other systems are brought back online.

Phil Lieberman, a cybersecurity expert mentioned that –

I have never heard of this kind of attack trying to shut down a hospital. This puts lives at risk, and it is sickening to see such an act,he said. Health management systems are beginning to tighten their security.

According to Parham Eftekhari, ICIT co-founder and senior fellow –

As we have seen in the recent attack on Hollywood Presbyterian, hackers are able to completely paralyze an organization until it pays a ransom which may or may not unlock their systems and data,he said earlier this week in an interview with HealthITSecurity.com. The hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars paid in ransom is a small price to pay for an organization when faced with the alternative of losing everything and threat actors know it.

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.

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Alertsec 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’s Check Point Full Disk Encryption.