Breaches In Health Data Off To A Bang


So far 15 health data breaches have been reported in 2018 to federal regulators.  This affects a combined total of almost 390,000 individuals. In spite of the numerous ransomware attacks grabbing headlines, very few show up on the federal tally.  Since investigations have determined that the attacks did not compromise patient’s personal information, the attacks were not reported.

Although most of the breaches added in January took place in late 2017, they were just reported in past few weeks.  Under HIPAA, organizations must report breaches impacting more than 500 individuals to the federal regulators and individuals within 60 days of the breach.

The three largest breaches reported in 2018 are listed as hacking/IT incidents.  Others have been listed as unauthorized access/disclosure, tied to losses or thefts. This wide assortment of breaches serves as a reminder that entities must be vigilant in safeguarding their IT servers, computers, phones, etc.

So far in 2018, the largest incident posted to the federal tally impacted 280,000 Medicaid patients and was a “hacking/IT incident”.  The notifying letter to the individuals said that the incident was discovered in November of 2017.  The second largest breach affected 53,000 individuals and was a hacking incident involving emails. It was reported to the individuals as “suspicious activity involving an employee’s email account was identified.”  The third largest breach posted in early January 2018 was a hacking/IT incident which affected 30,000 individuals and involved a phishing attack on November 15, 2017.

Despite the rising number of hacking incidents reported, notably missing from the list are the ransomware breaches.  The number is low for the actual ransomware cases because they usually involve unauthorized access and need to go through risk assessment exercise to determine if it needs to be reported or notice is to be given.  In many of the ransomware situations, it is determined that the data was not misused in any way that created risks to the patients.

It is not whether the ransomware attack happened that seems to be of concern, but a question of what the ransomware is actually doing and how it impacts both individual patients.  Ransomware numbers will go up and need to be reported.  It is critical for businesses to pay attention to the kinds of things that are reported by the media and to take necessary precautions.

About McCann Global:

In today’s complex legal cases, evidence is rarely singularly digital or traditional, but begins in one realm and quickly cross over into the other. The days of an investigation involving merely taking statements and photocopying documents are all but things of the past. Modern evidence gathering requires the agility to go where the evidence leads, no matter the source.

This not only means overcoming the challenge of understanding the ever-evolving web of digital evidence, but owning the entire evidentiary space; The nexus of both the digital and the non-digital.

McCann Cyber runs the table in this space. We either have the digital or traditional expert you need on staff, or we know that expert…. personally. McCann operates its own dedicated state of the art digital forensics lab, staffed with certified technicians, supplemented with a former cyber prosecutor, veteran law enforcement investigators, government cybersecurity experts, and certified fraud examiners. McCann is the only turnkey solution for the gathering, processing, analyzing, and reporting all types of evidence, no matter the source. Our team, drawn from both government service and private industry, has the resources, knowledge, and experience to provide expert testimony ensuring the evidence is both relevant and defensible in all proceedings.

McCann Cyber IS that nexus.


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