Personally identifiable information

Financial companies get new security law

February 28th, 2017

The State of New York will be implementing new regulations that require banks, financial services companies to have cyber security programs and also maintain them to specific standards.

“As our global financial network becomes even more interconnected and entities around the world increasingly suffer information breaches, New York is leading the charge to combat the ever-increasing risk of cyber attacks,” Maria T. Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, said in a statement.

Financial companies now need to check security at third party vendors. Also, they need to maintain adequately funded and staffed cyber security program. It should be monitored by qualified management. The team should report to organisation’s senior body.

Standards are also set for access controls, encryption and penetration testings. Breaches should have response plan. Preservation of data comes under this new rule. And notification to the Department of Financial Services should be sent.

Prevalent director of product management Jeff Hill told “The economic wake of a substantial data breach can stretch for years, impacting not only tangible bottom line results, but also inflicting reputational damage that can linger indefinitely.”

“New York State’s new rules are particularly forward-looking in that they emphasize the importance of understanding and managing third party risk, the source of more than half of all breaches according to a number of studies,” Hill added. “Addressing what is often the soft underbelly of many enterprises’ cyber security defenses — third parties/vendors — the State of New York is forcing a critical element of its economic infrastructure to cover all its bases.”

“In recent times, the regulatory pendulum has begun to swing in favor of a ‘lighter’ approach for banks, financial services and for other industries too, for that matter,” VASCO Data Security head of global marketing David Vergara said by email. “It’s good to see, however, that good sense regulations like this one have survived to offer additional consumer protection via thorough evaluations of third party vendors, comprehensive risk assessments and advocacy for stronger multi-factor authentication.”

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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.

Missing binder data breach

September 18th, 2016

An Oberlin, Kansas facility suffered data breach when its binder went missing. It reported a PHI breach. Facility found out that a CAT scan log binder was not in its regular place. According to the Decatur Health Systems (DHS), mentioned in an online statement that the binder went missing from DHS between 5pm on July 22, 2016 and 7am on July 25, 2016.  The incident caused data breach for 707 patients.

Affected information included patient names, dates of birth, dates of exams, diagnoses leading to the CAT scan, ordering providers, and x-ray exposure levels. Social Security numbers were not included.

As per the Privacy Officer Erica Forti, potentially affected individuals will receive a notification letter.

Facility mentioned that it is working with local and federal law enforcement agencies to retrieve the binder. It wants to find who removed it. Also, know the patient information misuse.

DHS knows the importance of keeping protected health information private and sincerely apologizes to the patients whose names were in the binder. They are working to ensure all patient information contained in other hard copy records and other sources of patient information are secure. They have changed key locks within the facility, conducted audits, and implemented new policies and processes. DHS employees have received additional training on security beyond their annual education and training.

According to the website:

Decatur Health Systems, Inc. is a rural health organization which works as critical access hospital and a rural family practice clinic.  Facility also manage a independent living complex.  It mentioned that it is committed to providing quality health care to the rural population.

Preventative Services: 

General Health Maintenance

Management of Chronic Medical Conditions

Same Day Appointments

New Patients Welcome

Routine Physicals

Routine Well Child Checks

Work, School and Sports Physicals

Pap Smears and Routine Gynecological Care

Immunizations

Screening

Pregnancy Testing

Acute Care Services:

Chronic and Acute Childhood Illnesses

Chronic and Acute Adult Illnesses

Minor Injuries

Family Planning and Education

Minor Lacerations

Fracture Care

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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.

Prima Care suffers data breach

August 3rd, 2015

Prima CARE, P.C. recovered a binder containing personal information from the bushes in a parking lot on May 25, 2015. The document contained information of 1,651 patients. Potentially breached information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, medical record numbers, hospital account numbers, insurance numbers, treatment date and certain clinical information. Patients who received care from Prima healthcare providers between 2007 and 2012 were affected.

“The binders were promptly returned after being discovered and are now safely in Prima CARE’s possession,” the statement read. “An investigation determined that the binders were created by a former Prima CARE employee who used the information to track work performance, but had failed to appropriately file or discard the documents following their use.”

Prima mentioned that the improper disposal was done without its knowledge or consent, and was in violation of its practices.

“We take the privacy and security of our patients’ information seriously and have taken steps to mitigate the potential for any harm to result from this incident and to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future,” Prima explained.

According to the statement, Prima Care will review its policies and procedures. It will also review its employee training programs to ensure that a similar incident does not happen again.

“We understand the concerns of patients involved in this incident,” Orlando Health reportedly said in its letter. “The privacy and security of our patients’ health information is a top priority for us. We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and found no evidence of malice or intent.

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.

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.

 

UPMC suffers second data breach

July 25th, 2015

Recent data breach in University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan affected 722 patients. This is the second health data breach at a UPMC facility in just under two months. The incident involved emailing of a data file with certain PHI to the incorrect address.

The affected information includes patient names, member ID numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers, name of the primary care physician’s office, and insurance plan types. Social Security numbers or information about medical histories were not disclosed.

UPMC Health Plan Director of Public Relations Gina Pferdehirt mentioned in an email response that “in context the breach is very minor,” but added that the healthcare organization

was taking the incident seriously.

The data breach occurred when  a former MML employee copied certain items of personal information from the billing system over the past two years and then illegally disclosed that information to a third party.

“MML takes this matter very seriously and terminated this employee after being informed of this criminal investigation,” according to a Medical Management statement. “MML is cooperating with federal law enforcement authorities in their criminal investigation.”

According to the statement:

“We apologize for any anxiety or inconvenience that this incident may cause our members,” Chief Compliance Officer of the UPMC Insurance Services Division William Gedman said in a statement. “Based on our ongoing investigation, we will make all changes necessary to further enhance our already stringent privacy protections. UPMC Health Plan is committed to doing our utmost to minimize the chance that this type of issue will occur again.”

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.

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.

Howard University Hospital suffers data breach

July 18th, 2015

Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. suffered data breach when more than 1,400 patients received letters intended for other individuals. The letters included names, account numbers, and dates that other individuals visited Howard University doctors. Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other personal information were not included

According to the reports, data error reportedly caused letters to go out to people with the right surnames, but the wrong addresses. Howard University explained that California Healthcare Medical Billing, Inc. and JP Recovery Services, Inc. had been hired to mail letters to patients who had not yet paid their bills.

University said that they become aware of the incident on May 11 and will notify affected individuals.

Similar incident includes the breach at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. The incident involves employee taking CDs which were no longer needed for the organization’s services and donating them to assist with children’s art projects. The affected information includes names and one or more of the following for 1000 patients: home addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, clinical information and health insurance information.

“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,” said John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals and Clinics.

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.

Maryland facility scam hit by Email Phishing scam

April 27th, 2015

Maryland-based St. Agnes Health Care, Inc. recently mentioned on its website that it suffered data breach when one of its employees was the victim of an email phishing scam. St. Agnes said that it sent data breach notification letters to approximately 25,000 patients. It included the warning as protected information was potentially exposed.

“We are taking the necessary and appropriate steps to prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future,” Saint Agnes Corporate Responsibility Officer Sharon McNamara said in a statement. “Specifically, we will continue to implement administrative, technical and physical safeguards against unauthorized access of protected health information.  In this instance, we reported the incident to our email service provider and are evaluating additional ways to enhance our already robust security program.”

The affected information includes patient names, dates of birth, genders, medical record numbers, insurance information, and limited clinical information. There were four cases where Social Security numbers were exposed.

“Through a fraudulent e-mail communication, sophisticated hackers gained access to protected health information contained in an employee e-mail account,” the statement read.

The statement failed to mention the date and time of breach incident.  Identity monitoring and protection services will be offered free of charge as appropriate for individuals whose social security number has been compromised by this incident.

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.

Cloud Security Adoption

April 4th, 2015

 

Cloud security is given more and more importance by the health care and pharmaceutical industries. These two represent about 38% from the sample survey for cloud security adoption. Privacy regulations and the related laws require the Protected Health Information (PHI) to be secured.

 

“While these regulations vary by region and local governments, the common theme is to ensure both the data at rest within the cloud application and associated data workflows are protected, which enables these organizations to launch new service portals and provide improved methods for sharing information,” the authors explained.

 

The survey also states that there is rising trend in adoption of data encryption software.

 

“While data encryption is considered the primary method for protecting data in the cloud, additional requirements include the organization’s ability to control access to the encryption keys and preserve search, sort and filtering functions,” the report stated. “Successful cloud security deployments also require workflows and interoperability with both enterprises on-premises applications as well as external cloud-based applications.”

 

Healthcare organization needs to adopt stringent security measures due to HIPAA Omnibus Rule, which also makes third party companies liable for data breach.

 

“For example, a data storage company that has access to protected health information (whether digital or hard copy) qualifies as a business associate, even if the entity does not view the information or only does so on a random or infrequent basis,” the Rule states. “Thus, document storage companies maintaining protected health information on behalf of covered entities are considered business associates, regardless of whether they actually view the information they hold.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

Missing documents lead to data breach

April 2nd, 2015

Life Care Center of Attleboro in Massachusetts suffered a data breach when the company that stores its patient records could not find certain documents. Iron Mountain which stores records for Life Care Center could not find certain documents which contained patients’ information. The breach came to notice during the audit. The affected patients involved those who received medical care in Life Care Center between 1992 and 2004. Employees who worked at Life Care between 1992 and 1999 may also suffer a data breach.

The compromised information includes patient names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, diagnoses, and other medical status and assessment information. The missing box of documents may also contain financial information. It is not clear how the incident occurred.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and have conducted a thorough investigation,” the statement read. “Please be assured that we have taken every step necessary to mitigate the circumstances resulting from this incident and to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.

According to Iron Mountain, records were inadvertently destroyed during a planned consolidation of storage facilities by a predecessor company.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and have conducted a thorough investigation,” the statement read. “Please be assured that we have taken every step necessary to mitigate the circumstances resulting from this incident and to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.”

Iron Mountain mentioned that it will continue the search.

“Until Iron Mountain completes a full audit of its records, they will not be able to ascertain whether the stored boxes are located, missing, misplaced, or destroyed,” according to Life Care. “This audit is expected to be completed by December 2015.”

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.

Missing encrypted devices leads to data breach

March 17th, 2015

Home health and hospice company Amedisys suffered data breach when its encrypted devices which consisted of computers and laptops went missing. Amedisys failed to find near about 142 devices. The incident came to notice when risk management process was conducted. The devices were assigned to Amedisys clinicians and other team members who left the company between 2011 and 2014.

The compromised information includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, insurance ID numbers, medical records and other personally identifiable data.

“The confidentiality and security of patient information has been and will remain a top priority for Amedisys,” Chief Compliance Officer at Amedisys Chief Compliance Officer Jeffrey Jeter explained. “We have worked actively with leading risk management and technology experts to inventory and assess devices that may contain personal or health information and ensure the integrity of our information security systems.”

Amedisys explained the situation on its website statement.

“All of the computers were encrypted, and the vast majority of them were used by licensed Amedisys clinicians to provide care for patients in their homes,” Amedisys stated, adding that it has not been able to rule out “unauthorized access to patient data.”

According to the statement:

We have received no reports of any hacking, fraud, or identity theft. However, as required by law and out of an abundance of caution for our patients, we are providing notice to all patients whose information was on devices because we cannot rule out unauthorized access to patient data on the devices.

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.

11M affected by Premera Health data breach

March 11th, 2015

Sophisticated cyber attack on Premera Blue Cross leads to health data breach affecting 11 million individuals. Company discovered data breach on Jan 29, 2015. Affected entities involve Premera Blue Cross, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, and the health insurer’s affiliate brands Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions, Inc. Also, members of other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans who sought treatment in Washington or Alaska were also affected by the cyber attack.

The breached information includes Applicants and members’ names, dates of birth, email addresses, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, member identification numbers, bank account information, and claims information, including clinical information.

“Individuals who do business with us and provided us with their email address, personal bank account number or social security number are also affected,” according to the Premera statement. “The investigation has not determined that any such data was removed from our systems.  We also have no evidence to date that such data has been used inappropriately.”

According to the statement, letters will be sent to affected individuals, and two years of free credit monitoring and identity protection services will also be offered to those applicants and members.

“As much as possible, we want to make this event our burden, not yours, by making services available to protect you and your information moving forward,” Roe said. “All of us here at Premera have been affected by this attack and we understand and share your concerns. Please know that we’re committed to making sure you get the tools and assistance you need to help protect you.”

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.