Risk
11/29/2010
10:39 AM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Healthcare Breach Highlights Need For More Security Insight

Triple-S Management, a managed care services provider in Puerto Rico, suffered a security breach that could have exposed the personal health care information of more than 400,000 customers.

Triple-S Management, a managed care services provider in Puerto Rico, suffered a security breach that could have exposed the personal health care information of more than 400,000 customers.According to a post filed at DataBreaches.net, the Puerto Rico Department of Health reported a security breach to Health and Human Services (HHS) that involved managed care firm Triple-S Management and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in Puerto Rico. The breach affected the protected health information, such as name, address, diagnosis, procedures, and other information on 400,000 patients.

Triple-S Management's 10-Q filing [.pdf] explains how the breach occurred:

Our investigation has revealed that the security breaches were the result of unauthorized use of one or more active user IDs and passwords specific to the TCI IPA database, and not the result of breaches of TSS's or the Corporation's system security features. We cannot at this time determine the purpose of these breaches and do not know the extent of any fraudulent use of the information or its impact on the potentially affected individuals and IPAs. We believe, however, that the most likely target was financial information related to IPAs rather than the individuals' information. During the course of our investigation we learned that there may have been improper uses of the IPA passwords by one or more consultants working for the IPAs. We have taken measures to strengthen the TCI server security and credentials management procedures, and are conducting an assessment of our system-wide data and facility security to prevent the occurrence of a similar incident in the future.

Yet another classic lesson on how important good identity and access management hygiene is. It's an old problem, and the remedy has been repeated many times: maintain tight control over user access rights, and when users change jobs or responsibilities make certain their electronic credentials change with the times.

While that will solve many problems that relate to similar breaches as these, the practice won't solve all of them, such as when insiders who have appropriate rights for their jobs - and then abuse those rights. That could had of been the case here, but it's not possible to tell form the information available. However, had security event and access information been correlated, it's makes it much lot easier to be able to spot abuses by insiders. If access information is correlated with a security event monitoring, for example, security managers can then spot troubling trends. They could include users accessing more information than usual, or perhaps from systems other than work. Such data doesn't tell one what the intent of the user may be, but it does suggest further investigation is advisable. And that just may be enough to stop such incidents from happening as often as they do.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: You should see what I wear on my work from home days!
Current Issue
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.