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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.

Sacred Heart Health Systems suffers billing data breach

March 19th, 2015

Florida facility of Sacred Heart Health Systems suffered data breach when its third party vendor experienced email hack. The affected information includes patient names, dates of service, dates of birth, diagnoses and procedures, billing account numbers, total charges, and physician names. Along with above information, 40 patients’ Social Security numbers were also compromised.

“Upon notice of the incident, Sacred Heart, in cooperation with our billing vendor, immediately launched a thorough investigation into the matter,” according to the company statement. “Sacred Heart engaged computer forensics experts who were able to conduct an analysis of what information was included in the affected e-mail account.”

According to the reports, third party billing vendor employee’s e-mail username and password were compromised because of this incident. The Facility is trying to solve the loopholes in the email system to avoid such incidents in the future. It is working with email service provider to evaluate how to enhance its “already robust security program.”

According to the statement, Sacred Heart said that it will offer complimentary identity monitoring and protection services for patients whose Social Security number was affected. As soon as the incident came to notice, the access of employee username and password were immediately shut down.

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.

Online application glitch may lead to data breach

March 7th, 2015

A nonprofit organization, Painted Turtle based in California which runs a camp for children with life-threatening diseases and their families free of charge suffered data breach when some personal information may have been exposed because of online application glitch.

The affected information includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, personal medical information, and employment information.An error in the database of the painted Turtle’s online application server for campers and volunteers caused the data breach. Bank account and credit card information were not present on the server.

“We immediately brought the database offline to prevent anyone from being able to access your records,” Maher wrote. “Also, in an effort to prevent similar data breaches in the future, before bringing the system back online we updated our database’s code to prevent the issue from occurring again.”

According to the statement on the website:

Your information would not have been viewable unless a specific chain of events occurred.

Specifically: (1) you would have had to identify someone as a Reference in your application in 2013–2014, and (2) that person would have had to begin filling out an application as well, and (3) while that person’s application (and your application) was still pending, (4) they would have had to access their pending application and click “show related profiles” and your name. Again, your information would not have been accessible to anyone outside of the persons you listed as References in your application.

We became aware of this issue on January 12, 2015. As soon as this error was brought to our attention, we began taking steps to address and mitigate the risk to you. We immediately brought the database offline to prevent anyone from being able to access your records.

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.

Hackers potentially compromise data of 80 million individuals

February 2nd, 2015

Anthem, Inc.’s database was attacked by hackers potentially compromising the personal information of approximately 80 million former and current customers, as well as employees. The affected information includes  names, dates of birth, medical IDs or Social Security numbers, street addresses, and email addresses.

According to a statement from Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish posted on the company website:

“Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised,” Swedish said. “Once the attack was discovered, Anthem immediately made every effort to close the security vulnerability, contacted the FBI and began fully cooperating with their investigation.”

Swedish added that the personal information of Anthem employees, including himself, were also compromised in this data breach using “very sophisticated external cyber attack”.

“We join you in your concern and frustration, and I assure you that we are working around the clock to do everything we can to further secure your data,” he said.

Anthem will notify the affected individuals.

“I want to personally apologize to each of you for what has happened, as I know you expect us to protect your information,” Swedish said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to make our systems and security processes better and more secure, and hope that we can earn back your trust and confidence in Anthem.”

The HITRUST Cyber Threat Intelligence and Incident Coordination Center (C3) has been collaborating with Anthem since it discovered the breach.

“As additional information becomes available, Anthem has committed to continue to work with the HITRUST C3 to disseminate any findings and lessons learned that can help other organizations better prepare and respond to these type of cyber incidents.”

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.

 

Laptop theft leads to data breach

January 12th, 2015

Sunglo Home Health Services patients were affected by the recent breach as laptop containing sensitive data was stolen from the Harlingen, Texas-based facility. According to the reports, the burglar broke into a van in the Sunglo parking lot and drove away after filling the vehicle with various tools and gear.

It happened that he returned and broke into the Sunglo building by breaking a window with a fire extinguisher and stole computer that held patients’ Social Security numbers and personal information, including PHI.

The numbers of affected patients are not known which also include elderly and disabled persons. Sunglo drives patients across the Valley in the vans, which are kept in a parking lot at the Harlingen corporate office.

“We’re just worried about the safety of the patients themselves because of the information. We had to contact local police to see what we could do,” Means told.

The potential suspect is behind the bar. Harlingen police arrested Matthew de la Cruz based on surveillance camera footage. The security aspect of the laptop was not known including the status of encryption.

“It leaves you uneasy, just something that was there that you can’t recover, it’s an uneasy feeling,” Means told Action 4. “We don’t really want this to happen again.”

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.

Discharge Paper work causes data breach

January 4th, 2015

Around 20 patients suffered data breach when their medical information was passed to other patient along with her discharge papers. The breach in Medical Center of Aurora apparently gave Karen Billings seven pages of operating room records after her hospital release.

The information contained Protected Health Information (PHI) for other patients. The data also included patient names, dates of birth, the doctor’s name, the procedure done, and the prescribed medication.

“I was shocked. I was mad. I was hurt that I had somebody else’s information,” Billings said.  “I wouldn’t want my stuff out there.”

In a statement, the healthcare organization said that it takes the protection of patients’ private information very seriously.

“We were made aware that one day’s surgery schedule was mistakenly given to a patient on November 22nd and, per policy, our Facility Privacy Official immediately began an internal investigation and we are notifying the affected patients,” the statement read. “We are committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and are reviewing internal procedures to determine additional safeguards we should implement.”

The affected individuals were shocked to get the data breach information from media rather than Medical Center of Aurora itself.

“If the doctor knew about it, the administrators knew about it, the hospital knew about it, then they should’ve been proactive instead of waiting, trying to hide it,” Scott Anderson told the news station.

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.

 

Children Art Project and Data Breach

December 12th, 2014

A healthcare data breach was caused by what started as goodwill attempt when a health system employee mistakenly donated CDs having patients’ protected health information (PHI) for children’s projects.

According to the reports, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCUHS) employee took CDs that were no longer needed for the organization’s services and gave it to Children as a reference for art project.  The affected information includes patients’ full name, and one or more of the following: home addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, clinical information and health insurance information. A few of the CDs also contained Social Security numbers.

The website statement didn’t mention about the number of individuals affected but likely more than 1,000 medical information records were involved.

“What began as a well-intentioned philanthropic effort by a staff member wanting to help turned into a serious mistake that we are working very hard to remedy,” John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals and Clinics, said in a statement. “This error brought to light a vulnerability in our system that developed over time and that we are working to correct, and we are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused some of our patients.”

VCUHS has revised its protocols regarding media destruction and will intensify its efforts to protect all sensitive information, Duval added. VCUHS said that it also re-collected most of donated CDs.

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.

 

Subcontractor mishandled sensitive information

December 10th, 2014

A potential data breach was caused because of information mishandling by  a health insurance subcontractor. According to the reports, WellCare Health Plans notified 47 Medicare subscribers at the end of November that their protected health information (PHI) was breached. Around 500 people were affected by this incident.

Social security numbers and other financial information were not exposed. Also, information regarding specific diagnosis was not revealed. A total of 47 people were notified in Monroe County along with more than 500 people in New York.

“When the error was discovered, WellCare sent postage-paid envelopes to the members who were believed to have received the inadvertent mailings,” the Democrat & Chronicle stated.

According to the reports,

The insurer said it was not aware of misuse of anyone’s information. Nevertheless, it urged the 47 individuals to review their credit card bills and other financial statements. The insurer is providing one-year credit protection.

The breach was a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Crystal Walker, director of public relations, said WellCare learned on Nov. 3 that a vendor had a computer coding error, which caused denial letters to be sent to the wrong members. The information included the person’s name, address, member ID number and general descriptions of the procedure, such as evaluation, radiology or administrative. No specific diagnoses were revealed.

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.

Former employee’s unauthorized access causes data breach

November 30th, 2014

Health care security breach was caused due to theft of 35 computers and 34 scanners by former IT contractor of Franciscan Health Systems. Three affected Washington hospitals are working to solve the lapses. According to the reports, the former employee Justin Page accessed one hospital six times, an administrative office 24 times, and an education and support facility eight times.

“We’re going to find the discrepancies in our system and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Scott Thompson of Franciscan Health Systems told the news source. “We’re right now taking some internal review of all those policies and procedures, to make sure we’ve figured out why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Justin Page kept his active security pass months even after he had completed his work for the company. He is charged with stealing $100,000 in computers, scanners and other equipment from three Franciscan facilities. Court documents indicate Page attempted to sell the hardware to help pay for an expensive pill addiction. A man identifying himself as the suspect’s grandfather said Page was feeling sorry.

According to the preliminary reports, Patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI) might not have been affected. Organizations need more stringent administrative and technical safeguards to prevent such incidents. It is always advisable to keep track of individual’s activities having sensitive data access.

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