security

Unauthorized EHR access at medical centre

February 22nd, 2017

Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center recently announced data breach, which has potentially affected 600 patient medical record. During routine review of employee access to the hospital’s electronic health records, St. Joseph’s came to know about the incident.

“Dignity Health and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center are committed to furthering the healing ministry of Jesus, and to providing high-quality, affordable healthcare to the communities we serve.”

As per the reports, sections of patient medical records were viewed without authorization by a part time hospital employee. Facility has sent advisory letters to impacted patients.

St. Joseph’s mentioned that the records did not contain Social Security numbers, billing, and credit card information. It also added that there is “no reason to believe these patients need to take any action to protect themselves against identity theft.”

“Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is deeply committed to protecting its patients,” the statement explained. “Any person who accesses medical records without a job-related reason is in violation of St. Joseph’s policy and appropriate action has been taken in response to this event.”

The individuals who were patients at St. Joseph’s between Oct. 1, and Nov. 22, 2016 are notified. Potentially affected information included patient medical records, demographic information (e.g. names and dates of birth), and clinical data, such as doctor’s orders and diagnostic information.

“St. Joseph’s regrets any inconvenience caused by this incident. Letters have been mailed to patients whose medical records may have been viewed and the hospital has established a call center to answer any questions they may have. “

An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital patient’s record. EHRs are advantageous as they are  are real-time as well as patient-centric. It also contains broader view of patient’s record and care.

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Data breach due to email hack

February 20th, 2017

Foot and ankle surgeon Jay Berenter’s office announced data breach due to an email hack. Hackers sent some patients an email that the office employees claimed not to have sent. As per the reports, the email sent to Dr. Berenter’s contacts  contained a DocuSign document waiting for their review.

As per the statement, “Dr. Berenter takes the protection of information seriously and understands how important trust is in a physician-patient relationship.”

Dr. Berenter’s office immediately sent another email informing patients not to access the DocuSign email. After the incident came to notice, Dr. Berenter’s office took steps to secure the email account. It also hired forensic IT specialists.

Investigation was carried out to determine the extent of breach. it also checked whether any of the office’s systems were affected. Facility mentioned that the incident was determined to be limited to the email account only. Potentially affected information includes patient registration forms, prescriptions, and patient names.  As per the data breach reporting tool, the incident affected 569 individuals.

Facility has also hired forensic IT specialists to investigate the incident further. It is trying to make sure that no electronic medical records were accessed. Facility is implementing new email system. Additional internal administrative steps are taken to prevent a similar hack.

Federal agencies of California Attorney General and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services are notified about the incident. Facility believes that there is no evidence to say that information is misused.

Dr. Berenter’s office has provided contact information to answer queries. One year of complimentary identity theft protection is provided to potentially affected clients. It has also encouraged to place a free 90 day fraud alert on affected accounts.

“Protecting your information is incredibly important to Dr. Berenter, as is addressing this incident with the information and assistance you may need.”

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

Unauthorized access and data breach

February 17th, 2017

Verity Health System based in California recently announced that an unauthorized access may have caused data breach. The incident affected personal information of more than 9,000 individuals.

Verity Health operates six hospitals which includes Seton in Daly City, Seton Coastside in Moss Beach, O’Connor in San Jose, St. Louise in Gilroy and two in Southern California. It also runs Verity Medical Foundation and Verity Physician Network. Verify Health was known as Daughters of Charity. It was renamed after taken over by investment firm BlueMountain Capital Management.

Verity Health mentioned that the access occurred on the Verity Medical Foundation-San Jose Medical Group website.  It mentioned that the website is no longer in use. Also, immediate steps were taken to secure it and protect it from further damage.

Affected information included patient names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and the last four digits of credit card numbers. Full credit card numbers and Social Security numbers were not included in the breach.

Verity mentioned that 9,000 got affected individuals in its statement. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, incident impacted 10,164 individuals.

“Verity Health System takes the security of our patients’ information seriously, and we regret that this incident occurred,” Verity Health CEO Andrei Soran said in a statement. “We took immediate steps to investigate this incident, notify the affected individuals and appropriate authorities, and ensure enhanced protection of our information systems going forward. We are working with a leading cyber-security firm to further evaluate the integrity of our information systems.”

Facility believes that there are no reports of misuse of information. It has also established a call center to answer queries. It is also offering one free year of credit monitoring services for potentially affected patients.

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Break In causes data breach

February 14th, 2017

Wichita, Family Medicine East, Chartered based in Kansas reported that it suffered data breach due to theft of an unencrypted desktop computer and printer from its facility. As per the reports, an individual got into the building by breaking an exterior window. Family Medicine mentioned that police have not yet caught the thief. Also, stolen items are not recovered.

Family East mentioned that “a significant number contained images of typed office notes dictated by Family Medicine East physicians during 2002 and 2003.”

Affected information included patient names, dates of birth, appointment dates, and the name or initials of the physician or PA who saw patients were in the notes. Social Security numbers and addresses are not included in the breach. Letters written to other physicians discussing a Family Medicine referral were included for few. Letters were also identified by name and information about their medical condition.

“[The notes and letters] were typed by transcriptionists engaged for that purpose in 2002 and 2003,” Family East said in its online statement. “The files remained on the computer that was stolen as a result of an employee’s oversight, and were not detected during a number of risk analyses undertaken prior to the theft, as part of efforts to secure all individually identifiable health information.”

Individuals who got treated in 2002 or 2003 are asked “to take steps to eliminate or minimize potential harm that could be caused by the theft.” Steps also include obtaining credit reports and monitoring their financial and baking accounts for activities.

Facility mentioned that it is offering complimentary credit monitoring services to potentially affected patients. It also said that all computers and systems will be encrypted.

“While Family Medicine East hopes to recover the stolen computer, this may not be possible,” the statement explained. “As part of its ongoing effort to prevent breaches of protected health information, Family Medicine East began the process of encrypting health information stored on laptop computers used by the doctors, PAs and nurses for patient care some time ago.”

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Funding for bug bounty vendor

February 9th, 2017

As per the recent news, one can make money in the rewarding business of security researchers for finding security vulnerabilities. HackerOne published that they have raised a $40M Series C round of funding. Total funding received till date for the San Francisco based company is $74 Million.

Dragoneer Investment Group led new round of funding. It will be used to help HackerOne grow its business.

“HackerOne is at the forefront of the burgeoning bug bounty movement,” Marc Stad, Founder and Managing Partner of Dragoneer Investment Group, said in a statement. “It is borderline silly for a company not to utilize a bug bounty platform given the immediate reduction in security vulnerabilities and the relatively low price point compared to other security options.”

Rice, co-founder and CTO of HackerOne in the video interview mentioned the statistics of business growth. Also, discussed the bugs found by HackerOne’s community of researchers.

Hacking the pentagon program was one of the major successes of HackerOne. The results were positive. It has 1,400 security researchers participating in the program. It also discovered 138 serious vulnerabilities which were fixed quickly. Also, the U.S. Department of Defense also got involved in the program.

HackerOne faces competition from bug bounty vendor Bugcrowd. The rival has raised $24 million in funding to date which includes $15 million Series B round.

“When I started the company in 2013, I spent most of my time explaining what a bug bounty was to people,”Bugcrowd founder and CEO Casey Ellis said. “I don’t have to do that anymore.”

“How we do things today is we prove a concept manually first, apply human intelligence to the problem set and then take the repeatable learnings and codify that,” Ellis said.

The market of buy bounty is competitive but there is demand. Rice also mentioned that more bugs have been found by third party bug bounty companies as compared to vendors.

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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.

Ukraine Blackout

January 27th, 2017

According to the Ukraine’s national power company Ukrenergo, blackout in Kiev was due to cyber attack. Initial reports suggested that workstations and SCADA systems at a 330-kilowatt substation were attacked by hackers. The Company didn’t mention the source from which the attack originated.

“The analysis of the impact of symptoms on the initial data of these systems indicates a premeditated and multi-level invasion,” Ukrenergo said.

“The attackers actually attacked more but couldn’t achieve all their goals.” Said Honeywell lead cyber security researcher Marina Krotofil.

Marina said that the attackers hid in the network for six months. She added, “The team involved had quite a few people working in it, with very serious tools and an engineer who understands the power infrastructure.”

In 2015, a similar attack was attributed to Russian hackers. It affected 225,000 people in western Ukraine while damaging power distribution equipment.

“Cyber attacks that cripple critical infrastructures continue to grow at a rapid pace — the repeated attacks on power plants in Ukraine, resulting in a loss of power to hundreds of thousands, [are] just the latest example,” Dtex Systems CEO Christy Wyatt told eSecurity Planet by email.

“It is crucial for all public and private sector organizations to focus on not only mitigating these attacks, but preventing nation state actors from gaining access to their networks in the first place,” Wyatt added.

Recent Survey Tripwire of 200 IT professionals working for governments has below findings –

Ninety-eight percent believe smart cities are at risk for cyber attacks

Thirty-eight percent said smart grids have the greater cyber security risks

Twenty percent said they have smart city initiatives

Fifty-five percent says they don’t have enough cybersecurity resources

“Security isn’t usually glamorous, and it can be difficult to    sell the need for added time and cost on a project, even when it’s to ensure that services are secure,” Tripwire senior director of IT security and risk strategy Tim Erlin said in a statement. “Smart city initiatives are pushing the technological envelope for urban infrastructure management, and it’s clear from the survey results that cyber security is being left out of the conversation.”

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Insider Threat

October 3rd, 2016

According to the latest survey of 500 IT professionals, one in three respondents said that their business has experienced an insider strike in the last year. Other observation includes: survillance

  • Seventy four percent said that their business is exposed to insider threats
  • Fifty six percent said insider flows are becoming more regular
  • Seventy one percent said they are most worried about inadvertent flows resulting from the use of unsecured mobile devices, accidental outside sharing, and unsanctioned programs
  • Sixty eight percent are worried because of threat caused by neglect
  • Sixty one percent are worried because of threat caused by malicious insiders

Privileged users have emerged as the biggest security threat which represents 60 percent of businesses. Respondents said rise in the number of apparatus with access to sensitive information, inadequate data protection options, worker training, and more information leaving the network perimeter are causing more insider threat. Cloud storage programs and cooperation software are seen as the most exposed.

“Adoption of cloud and BYOD are positive developments, but organizations that have limited cross-app visibility will struggle to detect anomalous behavior and need to rethink their approach to data security,” Bitglass CEO Nat Kausik said in a statement. “The reality is that cloud apps have made data more readily accessible and insider threats more prominent — it’s up to the enterprise to put adequate data controls and policies in place to secure vital data.”

Twenty three percent said it can take them a month or more to identify an insider violation

Sixty six percent said stopping insider risks is more challenging than shielding against outside dangers

A different RedOwl study of 281 participants at Black Hat 2016 found that 47 percent of participants had experienced an insider event of some sort in the previous year.

When asked who in their business is intrigued in mitigating insider risks, answers contained- typical workers, executives, board of directors, human resources, and IT and security teams. Impact of insider events are standing legal repercussions, IP loss, financial loss, negative cultural impact, and brand damage.

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EHR vendor and data breach

June 18th, 2016

Healthcare organization, Vincent Vein Center has notified patients of a potential healthcare data breach. The incident was result of the hacking incident at Bizmatics, a vendor who manages EHR for Vincent. Colorado-based phlebology office of the facility mentioned that some of its EHR files were accessed by the outside entity. Unauthorized access was related to PrognoCIS system, a practice management and EHR system serviced by Bizmatics.

The number of affected individuals stands at 2,250 according to the OCR data breach tool. Affected information included names, addresses, health insurance information, health visit and treatment information, and other identifying data, such as Social Security numbers.The PrognoCIS system use to store complete patient files.

Bizmatics mentioned that there has been no indication that Vincent Vein Center’s files were accessed or obtained by the outside party. Also, there are no available reports of information published online.

As per Bizmatics, “cybersecurity firm is hired to investigate the incident. It found out that that cybercriminals had installed malware on its systems to capture user credentials. Affected individuals are contacted about the possible data breach. Also, the facility has established a toll-free number to answer any questions which included identity theft protection resources for patients.”

As noted in Bizmatics’ letter, we have no reason to believe that our patient files were the target of the hackers’ attack on Bizmatics. VVC is examining Bizmatics’ practices and determining whether a continued relationship with Bizmatics is appropriate. VVC will make every attempt to prevent further breaches.

“We sincerely regret that this incident has occurred and thank you for your understanding.”

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Alertsec 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 Check Point Full Disk Encryption.

Computer glitch and Data Breach

March 26th, 2016

Laborers’ Health & Welfare Trust Fund for Northern California discovered that a computer glitch caused certain consumer health information to be processed incorrectly. The incident affected the processing of IRS Form 1095-B which included some patient health data in California.

According to the reports, some personal health information of workers were sent to other plan
participants and beneficiaries. Affected information included beneficiary names and names of dependents, Social Security numbers, and health plan coverage information. According to a press release, the Fund Office has notified potentially affected individuals personally, and will provide free credit monitoring to them.

The Fund Office mentioned that it will be taking steps to strengthen training processes and tighten security measures.

According to the press release –
The Fund Office has notified participants and provided credit monitoring services to all those participants and beneficiaries affected.The Fund Office has also instituted stronger security measures to guard against future mishaps.

According to the Wikipedia –
A computer glitch is the failure of a system, usually containing a computing device, to complete its functions or to perform them properly.In public declarations, glitch is used to suggest a minor fault which will soon be rectified and is therefore used as a euphemism for a bug, which is a factual statement that a programming fault is to blame for a system failure.

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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.

Tools for Compliance management which can boost security

June 24th, 2014

HIPAA has certain set of rules when it comes for compliance management. Compliance requirements are many times seen as an unnecessary burden but if proper procedures are followed then it can protect your organization even from data breach. Moreover it can also protect you from lawsuits to corporate espionage. The risk associated with compliance failures can include financial impact or fines, data loss, lost business or even a suspension of operations.

Below is the list of compliance management tools –

  • www.glpi-project.org: A free, open source tool, GLPI offers IT and asset management capabilities. After all, a good inventory is the first step in seeing what needs to be secured.
  • www.ptatechnologies.com: A free toolset that is driven by the methodology of effectively managing operational and infosec risks in complex systems using calculative threat analysis and threat modeling.
  • www.somap.org: The ORICO Framework and Tool are two projects in one, offering risk management and the toolset to build a reference implementation of a security framework.
  • sourceforge.net/projects/assetmng: An open source IT asset management system that provides identification, valuation and risk assessments.
  • http://openfisma.org : An open source framework that is designed to reduce the complexity and automate the regulatory requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Risk Management Framework (RMF).

IT managers may need to build their own solutions and integrate off-the-shelf products with other solutions. Luckily for those choosing a path of self-development, several free tools can become part of an integrated solution.

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.