Risk
4/27/2010
05:28 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Medical Records Keep Getting Dumped

Why were possibly thousands of private patient records found dumped outside the closed offices of a physical therapy center?

Why were possibly thousands of private patient records found dumped outside the closed offices of a physical therapy center?According to the story Patient files found dumped in Monticello officials in Monticello NY found a pile of files containing Social Security numbers and private patient information out in the open.

The story says that a clerk working in a nearby retail store noticed that a stack of 15 boxes remained outside the building for more than a week.

Apparently the offices of DRC Physical Therapy Plus were shut down, as an eviction notice was on the front door dated April 8.

I guess in all of the hullabaloo, no one thought to secure the patient data, or dispose of it properly.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens way too often. Here's a story from Chattanooga, TN on May 16 of last year detailing "Thousands" Of Medical Records Discovered In Recycling Bin:

Anyone who peered inside the mixed paper bin at the Dupont Recycling Center this afternoon got an eyeful. Files, in plain sight, which authorities say contained sensitive medical and identity information.

"Upon finding those, they discovered it wasn't a small amount. it was a large amount that we had to notify hutcheson medical center and one other medical facility," says Investigator William Puckett with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Investigators thought they could fit all of the files into a single car, but there was just too many files for that to be possible.

There is also this story from Florida earlier this year, Medical files in Port St. Lucie trash bin could have led to ID fraud, police say:

Police determined the files, which contained information including patient names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses, had been discarded from University Medical Clinics in the 1800 block of Southeast Port St. Lucie Boulevard, said Officer Tom Nichols, police spokesman.

A man identified by Nichols as a high ranking official with the company indicated an employee had thrown the files way.

"A garbage bag full of medical records is not an oversight," Nichols said.

With all of the attention toward securing patient data during the past couple of years, it's a shame to see health care providers aren't doing more to protect their patients' interests. But while it's a shame, it's certainly no surprise. Consider this from a story, Medical Data At Risk, penned by Nicole Lewis earlier this month:

A new study from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society reports that since January 2008, more than 110 healthcare organizations have reported the loss of sensitive patient data affecting over 5,306,000 individuals.

The findings, published in the 2010 HIMSS Analytics Report: Security of Patient Data, show that the vast majority of the 250 healthcare IT and security professionals surveyed have policies, procedures and technology in place at their organizations to prevent data theft. But changes made to protect medical records haven't curbed the number of reported breaches, which increased six percent since 2008.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, consider following me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2188
Published: 2015-02-26
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

CVE-2015-0594
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the help pages in Cisco Common Services, as used in Cisco Prime LAN Management Solution (LMS) and Cisco Security Manager, allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug IDs CSCuq54654 and CSCun1...

CVE-2015-0632
Published: 2015-02-26
Race condition in the Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a flood of Router Solicitation messages on the local network, aka Bug ID CSCuo67770.

CVE-2015-0651
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the web GUI in Cisco Application Networking Manager (ANM), and Device Manager (DM) on Cisco 4710 Application Control Engine (ACE) appliances, allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users, aka Bug ID CSCuo99753.

CVE-2015-0882
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in zencart-ja (aka Zen Cart Japanese edition) 1.3 jp through 1.3.0.2 jp8 and 1.5 ja through 1.5.1 ja allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted parameter, related to admin/includes/init_includes/init_sanitize.php an...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.