United States

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.

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.

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.

Cyber War

July 9th, 2015

Cyber war is soon becoming a reality. Recent attack on Sony is just the beginning. Security expert Bruce Schneier mentioned the possible destruction caused by cyber war in his address at the recent InfoSec Europe security conference in London.

“We are in the early years of a cyber war arms race,” he said. “We have seen China attack Github, we have seen countries attacking companies, and I think we are going to see much more of that in the future.”

He also mentioned that countries like North Korea have a natural advantage in this type of cyber warfare because of the basic level of technical infrastructure that they possess.

“North Korea has natural cyber-defenses in that it only has about 1,000 IP addresses, and it has only very few computers so its ‘terrain’ is very defensible. By contrast the U.S. is extremely vulnerable because it has lots of computers and Internet infrastructure.”

Also, some cyber warfare attacks may be carried out by groups (such as terrorist organizations) rather than countries.

“We are living in a world now where we can be attacked and not know if the attacker is a foreign government or just a couple of guys, and that is freaky,” Schneier said. “Technology is spreading capabilities, and the same weapons and tactics are available to everyone.”

In the real world scenario it is difficult to understand who is behind the attacks. Schneier mentioned one incident where Israeli war planes attacked and destroyed a nuclear facility in the Middle East 10 years ago.

“Four years later the Israelis and the U.S. attacked an Iranian uranium enrichment facility plant (at Natanz) using a cyber-weapon (Stuxnet). But the Iranians didn’t know that they had been attacked, let alone who did it,” he said. “Attribution can take weeks or months.”

Types of Cyber Attacks

  • Low focus, low skill attacks – Carried out by newbie
  • Low focus, high skill attacks – Involves identity theft and credit card breaches
  • Low skill, high focus attacks – It generally includes bypassing security measures
  • High focus, high skilled attacks- Most advanced

“To defend against low focus attacks you just need to be more secure than the guy next to you,” said Schneier. “With highly focused attacks this relative security is irrelevant; your security has to beat the attacker’s skill. With a high focus, high skill attack, a sufficiently skilled attacker will always get in. We are all vulnerable.”

Without the ability to attribute attacks, Schneier pointed out that it is also impossible to distinguish between computer network exploitation, a classic data breach where an attacker exploits vulnerabilities to steal things, and computer network attacks, where the attacker’s motivation is to cause damage. It’s the difference between copy *.* and delete *.*, in other words, he said.

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.

 

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.

 

IT security Professional Survey about Insider threat

April 12th, 2015

The SANS 2015 Survey on Insider Threats provided below results:

  • 74 percent of the IT security professionals said they’re worried about insider threats from negligent or malicious employees
  • 32 percent said they have no capacity to prevent an insider breach
  • 28 percent said insider threat detection and prevention isn’t a priority in their organizations
  • 44 percent of respondents said they don’t know how much they currently spend on solutions to mitigate insider threats
  • 45 percent said they don’t know how much they plan to spend on such solutions in the next 12 months
  • 69 percent of respondents said they currently have an incident response plan in place
  • More than 52 percent of survey respondents said they didn’t know what their losses might amount to in the case of an insider breach.

“While it’s good to see that a strong majority of security professionals are concerned about the dangers posed by insider threats, I was struck by the fact that investment in solutions that can help does not appear to be keeping pace with that concern,” SpectorSoft COO Mike Tierney said in a statement. “I believe a key action item called out by the survey data is that increased focus on, and investment in, addressing the concerns is required.”

According to the  2015 Vormetric Insider Threat Report:

  • 92 percent U.S.-based healthcare IT decision makers said their organizations are vulnerable to insider threats
  • 49 percent felt “very” or “extremely” vulnerable to insider threats.

According to the Harris Poll Survey-

  • 48 percent of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach or failed a compliance audit in the past year.
  • 48 percent of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach or failed a compliance audit in the past year.

“Healthcare data has become one of the most desirable commodities for sale on black market sites, yet U.S. healthcare organizations are failing to secure that data,” Vormetric CEO Alan Kessler said in a statement. “An overreliance on compliance requirements and a cursory nod to data protection point to systemic failures that are putting patient data at risk.”

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.

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.

Security Breach in California

January 20th, 2015

California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) mentioned in recent press release that one of its pharmacist employees possibly accessed patient records with no apparent business or treatment reason. There is possibility of data breach due to this incident. As per the policy, CMPC terminated its relationship with the pharmacist employee when the incident was discovered. CPMC audit of its electronic medical record (EMR) system revealed the probable data breach.

Affected information includes the last four digits of patient Social Security numbers, clinical information, and prescription information. CPMC notified affected 844 patients about the incident. According to the press release:

 The type of information varied for each patient. While the employee potentially viewed the last four digits of some social security numbers, the employee did not have access to full Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, California identification numbers, credit card numbers or financial account information. CPMC has no evidence of a malicious intent or any unauthorized sharing of patient information by the employee. CPMC believes that the employee accessed the information out of curiosity.

No action is required by the patients in response to CMPC’s notice.

CPMC takes patient privacy very seriously. CPMC has also reiterated to all staff that policy allows them to access patient information only when necessary to perform job duties and that violating this policy may result in loss of employment.

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.

 

Temple University laptop stolen

September 15th, 2014

A Temple University physicians’ office alerted 3,780 patients about data breach caused due to laptop theft from its surgery department. The Temple University physicians’ office laptop included patient names, ages, billing codes, and, in some cases, the names of the referring physicians. Local authorities and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were notified by the Temple.

“To help monitor the potential misuse of the stolen information, Temple has offered identity-monitoring services within the United States to all affected patients for 12 months, at no cost to them,” the statement said. “We deeply regret this incident and the inconvenience this may have caused our patients.”

After the breach, Temple office said it will reinforce employee training, boost physical security and improve technical security measures on desktop computers. The laptop was not encrypted as per the Temple. They also said that hospital staff has been re-trained in computer security and steps have been taken to improve physical surveillance. The theft comes in the month involving 4.5 million medical records stolen from Community Health Services, by computer hackers allegedly from China.

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.

Hacked server of St. Joseph leads to data breach affecting 405,000

February 26th, 2014

St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) in Texas reported a data breach due to hacking of server. It has affected more than 405,000 patients, employees, and employee beneficiaries. Hackers from china and other locations accessed information through single server. The server has employee and patient data from St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, Burleson St. Joseph Center, Madison St. Joseph Health Center, Grimes St. Joseph Health Center and St. Joseph Rehabilitation Center as per the health system. The server was taken offline as soon as breach was discovered.
Information about patient names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, possibly addresses, Medical information as well as bank information for current and former employees were present on the server. Investigators failed to determine if any information had been extracted.
“SJHS is working with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is also looking into this incident. SJHS is providing written notice of this incident to affected individuals, to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as to certain state and international regulators.”SHJS mentioned in a release on its website.
St. Joseph stated that there has been no report about misuse of information. It has setup a confidential call center for affected people. Statement on their website further added, ‘To further protect individuals from identity theft or financial loss, we encourage patients, employees, and their families to remain vigilant, to review their account statements, and to monitor their credit reports and explanation of benefits forms for suspicious activity.

Individuals can also check their credit by obtaining a free credit report.  Under U.S. law, individuals are entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus.
SJHS have five hospitals, two long term care centers, more than a dozen physician clinic locations and a charitable foundation. It has a designated Accountable Care Organization.
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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Healthcare compliance improving according to DataMotion security survey

January 28th, 2014

DataMotion’s conducted second annual survey on corporate email and file transfer habits. It helped to give insights about the perception of responding IT and business decision-makers about their organizations. It considered both advancement and ongoing issues for health care providers in securing patient as per the procedures.

More than 400 IT and business decision makers across the US and Canada participated in the survey.  Survey conducted was cross-industry but special significance was given to healthcare. According to the response from the health care companies, there is a strong effort toward improving security and compliance practices but there is still work to be done. Companies are now beginning to understand the importance to protect private and sensitive data.

“There [have] been improvements in security and compliance since last year, and healthcare in many ways is leading the way compared to other industries, but there are still serious problems to address,” DataMotion’s Chief Technology Officer, Bob Janacek said, “52 percent of healthcare respondents said their company either doesn’t have, or they are unsure if they have, a BYOD policy. There have been many incidents of mobile devices being lost or stolen that contain protected health information, potentially resulting in a HIPAA breach, and this puts organizations at great risk. Furthermore, healthcare regulations have expanded; meaning companies not previously covered, might be now.”

Study showed above average progress in privacy through emails and file transfers because of the emphasis HIPAA and the final Omnibus ruling place on policies. Some of the aspects of the reports are –

-90.4 percent of companies responded positive for security and compliance policies for transferring files electronically

– 84.8 percent mentioned their employees/co-workers capability to encrypt email

– 86.4 percent stated their policy to achieve compliance

– 32.6 percent healthcare respondents replied about co-workers inability to fully understand security and compliance policies for transferring files electronically.

– 3 out of 4 healthcare respondents replied about employees/co-workers “routinely” or “occasionally” violating security and compliance policies

– While 87.7 percent of healthcare companies permit the use of mobile devices for email, 40.3 percent d stated there is no BYOD policy.

– 11.7 percent are unsure about the policy existence.

– More that 25% promoted free consumer-type file transfer services. 30.5 percent said their company does not forbid the use of these services.

Janacek said “These survey findings give us a textured understanding that hopefully will help businesses overcome and anticipate related issues, especially in an age where security and compliance can so dramatically impact the bottom line,”

More efforts have to be made to get the compliance to protect private data. 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.

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