Healthcare

Data breach due to stolen flash drive

December 10th, 2016

OptumHealth based in New Mexico recently announced data breach. The incident was outcome of missing unencrypted flash drive. Approximately 2,000 individuals were affected.

The device contained information for some individuals who were enrolled in an OptumHealth plan. Affected information includes individuals’ name and a full or partial date of birth, telephone number, health identification number, address, provider name, diagnosis, or other health information. Financial information was not affected. Some individuals’ full or partial Social Security numbers were present on the flash drive.

“Upon discovery, we took prompt action to investigate the matter,” OptumHealth said in its statement. “The U.S. Postal Service was immediately notified to assist in locating the flash drive, and we are working closely with them as they further investigate the matter. We have implemented new measures to help prevent this from occurring in the future, including updating our processes related to vendors in efforts to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents.”

OptumHealth sent the notification letter to potentially affected individuals. Facility mentioned that there are few individuals who cannot be notified via mail.

While OptumHealth mentioned that “the information potentially accessed was limited,” it still encouraged individuals to enroll in the free services. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, incident affected 2,006 individuals. It has also offered one year of complimentary identity theft protection services.

As per the statement,

We also encourage individuals to be vigilant against incidents of identity theft. As a precaution to protect against misuse of your information, we recommend that individuals regularly monitor documentation concerning health care, bank and credit card statements, and tax returns to check for any unfamiliar activity. If you notice any suspicious activity on health statements, bank or credit card statement, or tax returns, please immediately contact the financial institution, credit card company, health plan, or other relevant institution.

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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.

Data breach due to stolen laptop

November 6th, 2016

MGA Home Healthcare Colorado, Inc. recently suffered data breach  after a laptop was stolen from an employee’s locked vehicle. Facility is notifying 3,119 patients about the incident.

As per the statement, ‘MGA is committed to the privacy of its patients’ and employees’ information and regrets any concerns or inconveniences that this incident may have caused.For further information and assistance, potentially affected individuals may contact MGA’s incident response service provider, AllClear ID.’

Theft reportedly took place sometime between August 19, 2016 and August 20, 2016 while MGA came to know about it on August 20. Facility notified law enforcement.

MGA said that it is conducting a thorough review of the potentially affected records to confirm what information was exposed. Affected information included names, addresses and other demographic information. Information about MGA-provided healthcare services may have also been exposed. for some patients. Also, thirty two patients had their Social Security number or driver’s license number included in the laptop.

“MGA has no evidence that the information on the laptop has been accessed or used,” MGA maintained. “As a precaution, MGA is offering identity theft protection services to affected individuals. MGA is committed to the privacy of its patients’ and employees’ information and regrets any concerns or inconveniences that this incident may have caused.”

Ways to secure your laptop:

Login Password

Provide a login name and password to access your system

Authentication Gestures

Some laptop comes with authentication gestures. It is part of hardware solution which can be utilised to secure your laptop

Encrypted File Systems

First understand what is a file system. Each operating system uses some algorithm to store and retrieve data from your hard disk. Encrypted File Systems layer themselves on top of an existing file system

Encryption

Through this method encrypting individual files or directories manually is carried out. There are various tools available in the market to do so.

Tracing and Tracking

 With the help of tracking feature/companies you can know the location of the laptop. The laptop must be connected to the internet to send the location pointer.

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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.

Integrity Transitional Hospital data breach

November 2nd, 2016

Integrity Transitional Hospital based in Texas recently suffered a hacking attack. As per the Office for Civil Rights data breach reporting tool, this incident may have affected 29,514 patients.

The statement on the website began with following, ‘Integrity Transitional Hospital (“Integrity”) is deeply committed to protecting the security and confidentiality of the information in its care. Regrettably, this notice concerns an incident involving some of that information.’

Facility mentioned that it stores certain patient information on laboratory specimens from companies that work with various healthcare providers. Then specimens are submitted to laboratories for testing. The data is kept for billing purposes.

Affected information included some of the lab results, lab testing information, health insurance information, and scanned driver’s licenses associated with laboratory services. Social Security numbers and other financial information were not included in the breach.

“Integrity is committed to the security of the sensitive information it maintains and is taking this matter very seriously,” the hospital said. “To help prevent a similar incident from reoccurring, we are enhancing existing security on our systems related to the laboratory information we maintain.”

Facility belives that there is no such evidence which concludes that breached information is misused. It has began mailing letters to affected individuals. Dedicated call centre is established by the Integrity to answer queries regarding the incident.

Integrity Hospital adheres to the following values(as mentioned on its website):

Compassion: Provide the best care, treating patients and family members with sensitivity and empathy.

Integrity: Adhere to the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and personal responsibility, worthy of the trust our patients place in us.

Respect: Treat everyone in our diverse community, including patients, their families and colleagues, with dignity.

Excellence: Deliver the best outcomes and highest quality services through the dedicated effort of every team member.

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

Data breach at CalOptima

October 20th, 2016

CalOptima based in the California recently suffered data breach. It has reported the second breach in a month. According to the reports, PHI data breach has affected 56,000 individuals.

Incident involves former CalOptima employee who downloaded data to an unencrypted USB flash drive. Affected information includes patient names, other demographic information, and other health plan-related information. Also, Social Security numbers, and the Social Security numbers of children were included for few cases.

Different notification letters were posted to the California Attorney General’s Office based on whether Social Security numbers were included or not.

“While we are still investigating this matter, CalOptima felt it was important to notify you promptly of this incident,” explained one of the notification letters. “We regret that this occurred and want to assure you that we are changing our procedures and practices to minimize the risk of it happening again.”

CalOptima spokeswoman Bridget Kelly mentioned that the investigation is going on. She also added that there is no reason to believe that the information was misused.

“We have implemented several additional safeguards to better protect members against this type of incident in the future,” Kelly said.

As per the statement, facility has asked the affected individuals to follow guidelines.

 We recommend that you monitor your credit using the free service from IDT911. CalOptima is providing you with access to Triple Bureau Credit Monitoring services at no charge. These services provide you with alerts for twelve months from the date of enrollment when changes occur to any of one of your Experian, Equifax or TransUnion credit files. This notification is sent to you the same day that the change or update takes place with the bureau. These services will be provided by IDT911, a company that specializes in identity theft education and resolution.

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 Alertsec is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information.

Sensitive information on internet affects 300k

October 9th, 2016

Central Ohio Urology Group (COUG) recently suffered data breach. The incident may have exposed the information of patients, employees, and individuals who got the services from the facility.

As per the statement, “We want to make affected individuals aware of steps they can take to guard against fraud or identify theft. Individuals can carefully check their credit reports for accounts they did not open or for inquiries from creditors they did not initiate, and should call the credit agency immediately if they see something they do not understand. Any suspicious activity on a credit report should be reported to the local police or sheriff’s office. When contacting law enforcement, individuals should file a police report for identity theft and get a copy of it, since it may be necessary to give copies of the police report to creditors to clear up fraudulent records.”

Affected information included names, addresses, telephone number(s), emails, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license/state identification numbers, patient identification numbers, medical and health plan information, account information, diagnoses or treatment information, health insurance information and identifiers, and employment-related information.

According to the reports, an unauthorized individual made the files and documents live on the internet. Online drive was accessible on August 2, 2016. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, data of 300,000 individuals was breached.

COUG removed the information from the drive within hours and local law enforcement were contacted. Facility also hired a forensics firm to investigate the incident.

“We carefully reviewed the posted files and documents to determine what types of information had been put online and which individuals may have been affected,” the statement reads. “Additionally, we installed network monitoring software, implemented a new firewall, added access restrictions and began updating system protections to help prevent this type of incident from recurring in the future.”

One year of complimentary identity protection services to individuals is provided to the potentially affected individuals.

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Alertsec is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information.

Ransomware and data breach

October 7th, 2016

Urgent Care Clinic of Oxford in Mississippi recently suffered data breach due to ransomware attack.  According to the reports, the server was attacked in early July. The facility came to know about the incident on August 2, 2016.

As per the statement, “ We understand this may pose an inconvenience to you, and we sincerely regret that this situation has occurred.”

Facility regained control of the server and shut down its remote access. It is taking precaution to prevent the same type of incident. Affected information included patients’ names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other personal information. Any health information on file was also accessed.

“The investigation revealed it is very likely that the attack was carried out by criminal Russian hackers,” Urgent Care said in a letter signed by Dr. Willis Dabbs and Dr. David Coon. “Unfortunately, we cannot say which patients specifically may have been affected by this data breach.”

Facility did not specify number of affected patients by the incident. It has urged individuals to regularly check all credit and bank accounts and report any suspicious activity. Facility is also offering one year of complimentary identity protection services.

“We understand this may pose an inconvenience to you, and we sincerely regret that this situation has occurred,” Dabbs and Coon wrote. “Urgent Care is committed to providing quality care and service to all its patients, and that includes keeping your personal information as safe and secure as possible.”

Direction to place fraud alert:

A fraud alert is a consumer statement added to your credit report. This statement alerts creditors of possible fraudulent activity within your report as well as requests that they contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name. Once the fraud alert is added to your credit report, all creditors should contact you prior to establishing any account in your name.

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

HHS funding for cybersecurity efforts

October 5th, 2016

Health and Human Services (HHS) was awarded a total of $350,000 in corporate agreements to improve further information sharing in the industry. It will also improve to tackle cybersecurity threats in both private and public health sector.  cyber-security

It is found out that many smaller healthcare organizations do not have the same facilities and methods to prevent or respond to cybersecurity attacks. HHS streamlined cyber threat information sharing will improve the situation. The process will help facilities send cyber threat data to a single entity. Stake holders affected by the attack are then informed.

“The agreements also will help build the capacity of NH-ISAC to receive cyber threat information from member healthcare entities,” HHS wrote. “Information about any system breaches and ransomware attacks will be relayed through a more robust cyber information sharing environment, as will information about steps healthcare entities should take to protect their health information technology systems.”

The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) of Ormond Beach, Florida reported that they received corporate agreement for $250,000 from the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Funding of $100,000 from HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) was given to NH-ISAC.This corporate agreement will help to build the infrastructure necessary to eliminate cyber threat.

National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology Dr. Vindell Washington said in a statement, “Electronic health information security is essential to the evolving healthcare ecosystem. The HHS funding will assist organizations of all sizes share pertinent information to the latest healthcare cybersecurity issues.”

“Creating a more robust exchange about cybersecurity threats will help the industry prevent, detect and respond to these threats and better protect patients’ privacy and personally identifiable information.” HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie said.

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

Email error leads to data breach

September 29th, 2016

St. Elizabeth Physicians recently announced data breach. Disclosed information included email addresses. Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and any other personal health or identification information were not affected.

“St. Elizabeth Physicians is the multi-specialty physician organization of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, one of the oldest, largest, and most respected medical providers in the Greater Cincinnati region. “

According to the statement, “It inadvertently released the email addresses of 674 individuals in an email sent by its Weight Management Center inviting the recipients to a vitamin presentation and open forum meeting.”

The incident was the result of human error when the email sender did not blind copy the recipients. It allowed all email addresses to be visible by all recipients.

Facility mentioned that it is offering affected individuals one year of complimentary identity theft monitoring.

“St. Elizabeth Physicians has promptly and thoroughly investigated the matter and has reviewed its procedures,” the statement read. “Corrective action has been pursued to avoid this from happening in the future.”

“St. Elizabeth Physicians takes patient confidentiality very seriously and is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of all patient information. St. Elizabeth Physicians regrets that this incident has occurred and is committed to preventing future occurrences. “

Email mistakes leads to data breaches. Below are the few examples which involve emails.

A Goldman Sachs contractor accidentally sent a message to a gmail.com email address which was meant to be sent at gs.com. The email contained a confidential document. As per the statement by the Goldman Sachs, “ document contained highly confidential brokerage account information” and it has asked Google to help it prevent a “needless and massive” data breach.

Another example includes insurance brokerage firm Willis North America accidentally sending a spreadsheet to a group of employees enrolled in the company medical plan’s Healthy Rewards Program. Affected confidential information, including employees’ names, email addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, employee ID numbers, office locations, and the details of their medical insurance plans.

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Data breach due to printing error

September 26th, 2016

A California health system recently announced data breach due to internal printing error. It may have exposed a limited amount of patient information. Facility is notifying 1,000 members affected by the incident.

Facility mentioned that the printing error took place on October 7, 2015 which involved “CalOptima MediCal members with diabetes receiving a health incentive survey that may have included an extra survey meant for another member.”

CalOptima found about the incident on October 8, 2015. It has stopped all printing work but the surveys which were already mailed were unable to be retrieved. As per the OCR list,  around 1,000 individuals as having been affected.

Affected information included the member’s first and last name, Client Identification Number (CIN) and, in some cases, information about the member’s diabetes diagnosis. Data such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or financial account numbers were not present in the survey.

“Your privacy is very important to us, and we apologize for this mistake,” CalOptima stated. “We have reviewed and changed our procedures and practices to minimize the risk of this event happening again. Extra training was provided to the business unit where the error occurred.”

Role of human error in security data breach:

The threats of human error by insider mistakes is real. Many incidents occur due to mistakes which can be avoided. Double checking and making the process fool proof can help to avoid security incidents. These mistakes are costly because it involves sensitive data. The greatest impact of human error is introduction of malware in the system.

According to the recent research, around 59 percent agree that most security threats are the outcome of innocent mistakes of employees instead of malicious abuse of privileges. Many tools are available in the market. It avoids such incidents which can lead to catastrophic events for the company.

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

Ransomeware attack

September 23rd, 2016

Oklahoma-based Saint Francis Health System recently announced data breach when its server was accessed by an unauthorized party. The reports suggests that patient information was accessed by the outside intruder. The facility also mentioned it received an email on September 7, 2016 that the incident took place. Spokesperson Sevan Roberts said that there was a demand for payment for the information by the anonymous individuals/individual.

“Saint Francis decided not to act on the demand because payment does not guarantee or prevent data from being disclosed,” said a Saint Francis statement. “The health system understands the importance of protecting our patients’ information, and deeply regrets that this occurred.”

Roberts also added that the information on the server affected approximately 6,000 names and addresses. Social Security numbers, driver’s license and financial information were not present on the server. After the incident, the server has been disabled. Facility is working with local law enforcement.

“Saint Francis has also been working with a leading forensics firm to investigate this incident and look for ways to enhance our existing security measures,” the statement read. “Notification letters are being mailed to those individuals who may have been affected and complimentary participation in identity monitoring service is provided.”

Is it a good idea to negotiate the ransom?

Ransomware is one of the threat looming over different sectors of industries. All types of malware attack make the news. Malware is a piece of software that encrypts your data. Data is unencrypted when ransom demand is met. The intruder provides the  key to decrypt their data generally after the payment.

Many facilities pay ransom because it is safest and quickest way. The example includes many facilities like Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre. Allen Stefanek, the Chief Operating Officer said that the ransom was paid, stating that “the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key. In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.”

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Alertsec 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 Check Point Full Disk Encryption.