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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.

 

Malicious Software

April 17th, 2015

Malicious Software

Malicious Software is a kind of software which gives partial to full control of your computer to do whatever the malware creator wants. Malware can be a virus, worm, trojan, adware, spyware, root kit, etc.

What is the purpose of Malicious Software?

Malware may be intended to steal personal information or spy on computer users without their knowledge or it may be designed to cause harm, often as sabotage or to extort payment.

Types of Malware

Viruses

A computer program usually hidden within another seemingly useful program that duplicates itself to inserts them into other programs or files and destroys the data or performs intended action.

Trojan Horses

Trojan Horses is computer program that asks users to install it under the pretext of description which appears useful. It is the way to fool users by providing fake information for malware.

Rootkits

Malicious Software which conceals their identity by modifying the host’s operating system to hide from the user.

Backdoor Access

A backdoor is the method by which normal authentication procedures are bypassed, usually over a network connection such as internet.

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 breach due to break in

March 9th, 2015

Mosaic Medical may have suffered data breach when PHI got exposed due to break-in. The incident took place at a temporary office location for the facility’s Bend, Oregon location. Mosaic is not sure whether the medical record got accessed or not because at prima facie nothing appears to be stolen.

“The personal information that was possibly accessed was on paper documents within the office and included health information, medical insurance information, phone number, and e-mail addresses,” Mosaic said in a statement, according to local news station KTVZ. “A report was filed with the Bend Police Department and they have investigated the break-in.”

Mosiac Medical discovered that a break-in happened at night. According to the reports, the facility has taken steps like moving its HIT office to secure more information. Also, affected patients have been notified via letters.

“We understand the importance of safeguarding our patients’ personal information and take that responsibility very seriously,” Mosaic Medical Chief Operating Officer Allison McCormick said in the statement. “We will do all we can to work with our patients whose personal information may have been compromised.  We regret that this incident occurred, and we are committed to preventing future occurrences.”

Mosaic Medical is a local nonprofit community health center system with primary care clinics in Prineville, Bend, Madras and Redmond.

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.

Unencrypted computer stolen from IEHP

January 9th, 2015

Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) revealed that an unencrypted desktop computer was stolen from its Rancho Cucamonga facility. The affected information includes names, IEHP member ID numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers and dates of past or future appointments.

Children’s Eyewear Sight was the owner of the machine, which is a participating provider with IEHP that provides vision services. Social Security numbers were not present on the stolen computer.

“Rancho Cucamonga police were notified of the incident and subsequently apprehended a suspect,” IEHP stated on its website. “At this time, there is no evidence that the information has been accessed. The desktop computer was password protected, but the data was not encrypted.”

According to the statement:

The Compliance Department at IEHP has taken appropriate steps to report this incident to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the California Office of Attorney General (OAG) and to local media.

While there is no indication that your information will be used for fraudulent activities,IEHP would like to offer you the option of applying a confidentiality alert to the electronic record maintained by IEHP.

IEHP takes its duty to secure the personal information of our Members very seriously, and we appreciate the trust you have placed in us by choosing us as your health plan,” the letter stated. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

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.

Microsoft to Fix two more flaws in IE

June 3rd, 2013

Microsoft will patch 33 vulnerabilities in 10 bulletins relating to Internet Explorer, with two bulletins rated “critical.”

While few details are given about the security issues, today’s advanced security bulletin outlined flaws in a range of other products, including Microsoft Office, .NET Framework, Microsoft Lync, and Windows Essentials.

Bulletin 1 relates to all versions of Internet Explorer 6 to 10, including Windows 8 and Windows RT devices. A patch will be released to fix issues discovered at two security conferences earlier this year.

Bulletin 2 relates to the recent Internet Explorer 8 zero-day flaw designed to target U.S. government workers. The software giant said it was “working” to have a full patch ready for a critical zero-day flaw for Internet Explorer 8, in which the company issued an emergency out-of-band “Fix It” patches on Thursday.

The other eight bulletins are considered “important.”

The remaining eight patches will address flaws that range from denial-of-service errors that can cause Windows to crash, to remote code execution issues in Microsoft Office and Lync, an elevation of privileges that would allow an attacker to gain additional rights to the affected system, and information disclosure issues relating to Windows Essentials 2011 and 2012.

Included with the security patches, we can expect Microsoft to issue a number of non-security related fixes to its Surface Pro and Surface RT tablets, in line with previous months.

Microsoft has delivered 739 updates for Windows 8 and Windows RT in the nearly seven month period since the two versions were launched in October. These fixes included battery life improvements to additional driver support.

The security fixes will be released on May 14 through the usual update channels, such as Windows and Microsoft Update.

Microsoft is doing its best to enhance data security.

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.

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What You Need to Know About the Java Exploit

February 11th, 2013
Image representing Oracle Corporation as depic...

Image via CrunchBase

On Thursday, the world learned that attackers were breaking into computers using a previously undocumented security hole in Java, a program that is installed on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide. This post aims to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the vulnerability, and to outline simple steps that users can take to protect themselves.

Q: What is Java, anyway?
A: Java is a programming language and computing platform that powers programs including utilities, games, and business applications. According to Java makerOracle Corp., Java runs on more than 850 million personal computers worldwide, and on billions of devices worldwide, including mobile and TV devices. It is required by some Web sites that use it to run interactive games and applications.

Q: So what is all the fuss about?
A: Researchers have discovered that cybercrooks are attacking a previously unknown security hole in Java 7 that can be used to seize control over a computer if a user visits a compromised or malicious Web site.

Q: Yikes. How do I protect my computer?
A: The version of Java that runs on most consumer PCs includes a browser plug-in. According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University‘s CERT, unplugging the Java plugin from the browser essentially prevents exploitation of the vulnerability. Not long ago, disconnecting Java from the browser was not straightforward, but with the release of the latest version ofJava 7 — Update 10 — Oracle included a very simple method for removing Java from the browser. You can find their instructions for doing this here.

Q: How do I know if I have Java installed, and if so, which version?
A: The simplest way is to visit this link and click the “Do I have Java” link, just below the big red “Download Java” button.

Q: I’m using Java 6. Does that mean I don’t have to worry about this?
A: There have been conflicting findings on this front. The description of this bug at theNational Vulnerability Database (NVD), for example, states that the vulnerability is present in Java versions going back several years, including version 4 and 5. Analysts at vulnerability research firm Immunity say the bug could impact Java 6 and possibly earlier versions. ButWill Dormann, a security expert who’s been examining this flaw closely for CERT, said the NVD’s advisory is incorrect: CERT maintains that this vulnerability stems from a component that Oracle introduced  with Java 7. Dormann points to a detailed technical analysis of the Java flaw by Adam Gowdiak of Security Explorations, a security research team that has alerted Java maker Oracle about a large number of flaws in Java. Gowdiak says Oracle tried to fix this particular flaw in a previous update but failed to address it completely.

Either way, it’s important not to get too hung up on which versions are affected, as this could become a moving target. Also, a new zero-day flaw is discovered in Java several times a year. That’s why I’ve urged readers to either uninstall Java completely or unplug it from the browser no matter what version you’re using.

Q: A site I use often requires the Java plugin to be enabled. What should I do?
A: You could downgrade to Java 6, but that is not a very good solution. Oracle will stop supporting Java 6 at the end of February 2013, and will soon be transitioning Java 6 users to Java 7 anyway. If you need Java for specific Web sites, a better solution is to adopt a two-browser approach. If you normally browse the Web with Firefox, for example, consider disabling the Java plugin in Firefox, and then using an alternative browser (Chrome, IE9, Safari, etc.) with Java enabled to browse only the site(s) that require(s) it.

Q: I am using a Mac, so I should be okay, right?
A: Not exactly. Experts have found that this flaw in Java 7 can be exploited to foist malware on Mac and Linux systems, in addition to Microsoft Windows machines. Java is made to run programs across multiple platforms, which makes it especially dangerous when new flaws in it are discovered. For instance, the Flashback worm that infected more than 600,000 Macs wiggled into OS X systems via a Java flaw. Oracle’s instructions include advice on how to unplug Java from Safari. I should note that Apple has not provided a version of Java for OS X beyond 6, but users can still download and install Java 7 on Mac systems. However, it appears that in response to this threat, Apple has taken steps to block Java from running on OS X systems.

Q: I don’t browse random sites or visit dodgy porn sites, so I shouldn’t have to worry about this, correct?
A: Wrong. This vulnerability is mainly being exploited by exploit packs, which are crimeware tools made to be stitched into Web sites so that when visitors come to the site with vulnerable/outdated browser plugins (like this Java bug), the site can silently install malware on the visitor’s PC. Exploit packs can be just as easily stitched into porn sites as they can be inserted into legitimate, hacked Web sites. All it takes is for the attackers to be able to insert one line of code into a compromised Web site.

Q: I’ve read in several places that this is the first time that the U.S. government has urged computer users to remove or wholesale avoid using a particular piece of software because of a widespread threat. Is this true?
A: Not really. During previous high-alert situations, CERT has advised Windows users to avoid using Internet Explorer. In this case, CERT is not really recommending that users uninstall Java: just that users unplug Java from their Web browser.

Q: I’m pretty sure that my Windows PC has Java installed, but I can’t seem to locate the Java Control Panel from the Windows Start Menu or Windows Control Panel. What gives?
A: According to CERT’s Dormann, due to what appears to potentially be a bug in the Java installer, the Java Control Panel applet may be missing on some Windows systems. In such cases, the Java Control Panel applet may be launched by finding and executing javacpl.exe manually. This file is likely to be found in C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\bin or  C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7\bin.

Q: I can’t remember the last time I used Java, and it doesn’t look like I even need this program anymore. Should I keep it?
A: Java is not as widely used as it once was, and most users probably can get by without having the program installed at all. I have long recommended that users remove Java unless they have a specific use for it. If you discover later that you really do need Java, it is trivial and free to reinstall it.

Q: This is all well and good advice for consumers, but I manage many PCs in a business environment. Is there a way to deploy Java but keep the plugin disconnected from the browser?
A: CERT advises that system administrators wishing to deploy Java 7 Update 10 or later with the “Enable Java content in the browser” feature disabled can invoke the Java installer with the WEB_JAVA=0 command-line option. More details are available in the Java documentation.

Q: Okay, I think I’m covered on Java. But what about Javascript?
A: Because of the unfortunate similarity of their names, many people confuse Java withJavascript. But these are two completely different things. Most Web sites use JavaScript, a powerful scripting language that helps make sites interactive. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of Web-based attacks use JavaScript tricks to foist malicious software and exploits onto site visitors. To protect yourself, it is critically important to have an easy method of selecting which sites should be allowed to run JavaScript in the browser. It is true that selectively allowing JavaScript on known, “safe” sites won’t block all malicious scripting attacks: Even legitimate sites sometimes end up running malicious code when scammers figure out ways to sneak tainted, bogus ads into the major online ad networks. But disallowing JavaScript by default and selectively enabling it for specific sites remains a much safer option than letting all sites run JavaScript unrestricted all the time.

Firefox has many extensions and add-ons that make surfing the Web a safer experience. One extension that I have found indispensable is NoScript. This extension lets the user decide which sites should be allowed to run JavaScript, including Flash Player content. Users can choose to allow specific exceptions either permanently or for a single browsing session.

Chrome also includes similar script- and Flash blocking functionality that seems designed to minimize some of these challenges by providing fewer options. If you tell Chrome to block JavaScript on all sites by default, when you browse to a site that uses JavaScript, the upper right corner of the browser displays a box with a red “X” through it. If you click that and select “Always allow JavaScript on [site name]” it will permanently enable JavaScript for that site, but it doesn’t give you the option to block third-party JavaScript content on the site as Noscript does. In my testing, I had to manually refresh the page before Chrome allowed scripting on a site that I’d just whitelisted. In addition, there is a very handy add-on for Chrome called NotScripts that works very much like Noscript.

Selectively script blocking can take some getting used to. Most script-blocking add-ons will disable scripting by default on Web sites that you have not added to your trusted list. In some cases, it may take multiple tries to get a site that makes heavy use of Javascript to load properly.

Internet Explorer allows users to block scripts, but even the latest version of IE still doesn’t give the user much choice in handling JavaScript. In IE9, you can select among JavaScript on, off, or prompting you to load JavaScript. Turning JavaScript off isn’t much of an option, but leaving it completely open is unsafe. Choosing the “Prompt” option does nothing but serve incessant pop-up prompts to allow or disallow scripts (see the video below). The lack of a simpler approach to script blocking in IE is one of the main reasons I continue to steer readers toward Firefox and Chrome.

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.

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Windows RT hack Don’t sweat it, Microsoft says

January 3rd, 2013

Windows RT can be hacked to run unsigned desktop apps, but Microsoft sees no reason to worry.

As described yesterday, the hack allows someone with a certain amount of savvy to change code in the Windows RT kernel so the tablet-based OS can run desktop apps. Officially, the only desktop programs that Windows RT supports are Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer and Office suite. Otherwise, the OS can run only Windows Store apps.

But the hack isn’t geared for the average Windows RT user.

Besides requiring the necessary programming chops, the hack can only change code in memory. So a user would have to modify the code each time the device boots up.

Further, desktop applications would have to be recompiled for ARM processors, so users couldn’t just run their existing desktop programs, which are designed for Intel x86 processors.

In a statement sent to CNET, Microsoft cautioned that the hack poses no security threat and actually applauded the people who discovered the hack. But the company also hinted that the hack may be eliminated in a future update to RT.

The scenario outlined is not a security vulnerability and does not pose a threat to Windows RT users. The mechanism described is not something the average user could, or reasonably would, leverage as it requires local access to a system, local administration rights and a debugger in order to work. In addition, the Windows Store is the only supported method for customers to install applications for Windows RT. There are mechanisms in place to scan for security threats and help ensure that apps from the Store are legitimate and can be acquired and used with confidence. We applaud the ingenuity of the folks who worked this out and the hard work they did to document it. We’ll not guarantee these approaches will be there in future releases.

The hack was uncovered by someone dubbed clrokr, who described how he was able to change a certain value in the RT kernel to expand the types of apps RT can run. Through his efforts, the hacker also discovered that Windows RT isn’t that differentfrom Windows 8, calling Windows RT “a clean port of Windows 8.”

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.

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