United States Office of Personnel Management

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.

Software update leads to potential data breach

June 27th, 2015

Affected information includes first and last name, Social Security Number, Blue Shield identification number, date of birth, and home address. Financial information was not exposed, according to the letter, and users who had unauthorized access to PHI confirmed to Blue Shield that they did not keep copies. Moreover, those users said they deleted the information and returned any records to the company.

The website is used by authorized users but the software provided unintended result.  It was found out that three users, who logged into their own accounts at the exact same time as another user, were able to view member information associated with the other individual’s account.

According to the Blue Shield Statement:

This issue was reported to the Blue Shield Privacy Office on May 18. The Website was promptly taken off line to identify and correct the problem. The Website’s faulty code was identified and corrected and the Website was returned to service on May 19. Our investigation revealed that this was the result of human error on the part of Blue Shield staff members, and the matter was not reported to law enforcement authorities for further investigation.

The notification letter did not say how many individuals were affected, but Blue Shield added that those potentially affected will receive a free, one-year membership to identity protection 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.

Unity Recovery Group suffers data breach

June 4th, 2015

Unity Recovery Group, Inc. announced the data breach but failed to specify the cause of breach. It just mentioned that it “involved the disclosure of [patients’] personal information to one or more unaffiliated recovery and/or rehabilitation service providers, without [their] prior written consent.” Affected information includes names, addresses, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, email addresses, insurance information, and/or certain health-related information.

“To protect against future incidents, we have undertaken additional technological security measures and implemented additional training of our employees to ensure compliance with Unity’s Policies,” Unity said. “We have also hired outside legal counsel to assist us with our investigation and Forensic Data Services, Inc., a technology forensics firm, to enhance the security of our IT systems.”

The breach also affected affiliated companies which include Starting Point Detox, LLC, Lakeside Treatment Center, LLC, Changing Tides Transitional Living, LLC, and Unity Recovery Center, Inc.

According to the statement:

  • We are complying with our regulatory notice obligations and continue to investigate how this breach happened in light of our Privacy Policy, Client Confidentiality Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, and IT security policies (together “Unity’s Policies”).
  • At Unity, we take patient privacy very seriously and it is important to us that you are made fully aware of a potential privacy issue that may affect you.
  • While we have not received any indication that the information disclosed has been accessed or used for any other purpose, we are required to obtain your prior written consent before disclosing your personal information, with limited exception.
  • In keeping with our commitment to patient privacy, we have arranged for a complimentary one year subscription for you to ID Experts®, a leading identity and credit protection service. Unity is not affiliated in any way with ID Experts, however, their services have come highly recommended. If you seek the benefits of their services, ID Experts will also assist you with placing a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports.

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.