New York City

Medical document found in confetti

July 15th, 2015

The incident involves confetti during the world cup victory parade of U.S. Women’s soccer team. According to the New York news station, some of the confetti used in the victory parade for the US Women’s soccer team contained medical information.

The incident came to notice when a reporter tweeted a photo with confetti strips which made up an entire prescription after pieced together. Affected information includes patient names and the doctor’s office address.

The incident could be a case of official confetti versus confetti made by local businesses and residents. In similar incident during year 2012 Thanksgiving Day, the official confetti supplied by Downtown Alliance was just colored paper while police department reports mention documents ended up as confetti containing information. Also, Downtown Alliance reported that it provided two tons of confetti in 2012, yet its cleaning crew picked up 34 tons of confetti.

In the current incident, news station also reported that Atlas Packaging Company provided two tons of strip cut, blank, news roll which can be considered as the official confetti for the victory parade. It seems that good intentions like victory parades potentially led to health data security issues, which is not entirely uncommon.

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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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New York facility suffers data breach

May 22nd, 2015

A former employee at HHC Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx improperly accessed and transmitted files containing PHI to her personal email account. According to the reports, the incident has put the PHI of 90,000 patients at risk.  Apart from that, the employee also sent the information to her email account at her new employer, New York City agency.

Affected information includes patient names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, medical record numbers, treatment dates and types of services, and limited sensitive health information. Information related to health insurance identification numbers, which may have included Social Security numbers

, were also potentially exposed for some patients.

“The unauthorized disclosure was discovered by HHC’s information governance and security program that, among other things, monitors and detects all email communications that contain PHI and other confidential information that are sent from HHC’s information systems without proper authorization,” the statement read.

HHC believed that there is no evidence showing that the data was misused in any way, or that it was viewed or sent to anyone other than the former employee.

“HHC has taken immediate measures to prevent the recurrence of this incident, including the automatic blocking of communications containing PHI and other confidential information from being sent from HHC’s information systems to any site or entity outside of the HHC security network other than for legitimate business purposes,” the organization said.

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Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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Stolen laptop with 9/11 pictures still missing

September 21st, 2013

It was more than six years ago, when a city medical examiner’s laptop was stolen, as learned by The Post. It contained 200 to 300 sensitive photographs of body parts from 9/11 and other victims and the laptop is still missing.

Frank DePaolo, the ME’s director of special operations, while ­attending a meeting downtown in April 2007 left the laptop also containing photos of Staten Island Ferry crash victims, as well as city disaster plans in his city-issued Chevy Tahoe.

A burglar broke into Frank’s SUV and took the laptop as well as two bags that he dropped while pedaling away on a bike.

Using a DNA swab from one dropped bag, Jeffrey Davis was busted by cops four month later but investigators have not been able to recover the laptop till date, said Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The possibility that hundreds of morgue photos remain lost angers 9/11 victims’ relatives.

Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died on Sept. 11, 2001 said “Who on earth would leave a laptop clearly visible in a car with the most sensitive materials and compromise the dignity and privacy of crime victims who met such a brutal death?”.

“No identifying information about any victims was on the laptop.” Said ME spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.

However, a memo by the city Department of Investigation, released to The Post, says the laptop had “pictures and names” of Staten Island Ferry victims and “pictures of the City Hall shooting, 2003” in which City Councilman James ­Davis and his killer, Othniel Askew, were shot dead. The department memo cites “9/11 material and pictures” on the laptop. Officials refused to comment on this.

The ME’s office tightened security for new laptops, after the laptop theft, allowing systems to locate and remotely delete sensitive data on missing or stolen computers, the department memo says.

When 9/11 relatives first learned about the disturbing theft in The Post, then-Chief ME Charles Hirsch wrote them a letter saying the laptop had “some images of bone fragments but none linked to a named victim.”

He said DePaolo did nothing wrong, and he used the laptop to work at home and give lectures on the World Trade Center recovery.

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.

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