Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

8/27/2013
02:21 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

4 Million Patients At Risk After Computer Theft From Chicago Medical Group

Unencrypted Social Security numbers, names, addresses, health insurance information potentially exposed in major HIPAA violation

Thieves broke into an office of the largest health system in Illinois last month and stole four unencrypted computers that contained personal information -- including Social Security numbers and health insurance information -- of 4.03 million patients. An administrative office of Advocate Medical Group was burglarized, according to the health care organization, and a criminal investigation is under way.

The break-in occurred at an Advocate Medical Group administrative office in Park Ridge on July 15; the stolen computers included the names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of patients, as well as some clinical data, including their physicians, diagnoses, medical record numbers, medical service codes, and health insurance data. Advocate Medical Group says no patient medical records were stored on the stolen machines.

"The most important thing is that this issue has no impact on patient care," said Kevin McCune, M.D., chief medical officer at Advocate Medical Group. "Security is a top priority for our health care ministry. Nothing leads us to believe that the computers were taken for the information they contained or that any patient information has been used inappropriately."

The incident marks one of the biggest health care breaches yet with the number of patients whose information has been exposed, according to Bill Barr, a development coordinator with the newly formed Medical Identity Theft Alliance (MIFA) and co-founder of the Smart Card Forum.

"It appears that it was just some computers behind locked doors that were [reportedly] password-protected. That's not the strongest security people should be [employing]," Barr says.

Even more chilling is that the thieves now have a treasure trove of medical identification that could be rolled into medical ID theft "kitz" sold in underground forums, according to Barr. "They've got all of the information they need ... to put together 4 million kitz," he says. "To me, that's a very serious situation."

These medical ID kitz typically include bank account credentials, Social Security numbers, health insurance credentials, and phony driver's licenses or other IDs, and sell for $1,200 to $1,300, according to Dell SecureWorks, which recently uncovered some of these scams.

Advocate Medical Group has notified patients whose data was stored on the stolen machines, and is offering free credit monitoring and ID theft protection. The organization also is beefing up physical security at the burglarized location, with round-the-clock security, and considering doing the same at other locations. "We have reinforced our security protocols and encryption program with associates," the company said in its disclosure notice about the breach.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Lachesis
50%
50%
Lachesis,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/10/2013 | 2:02:15 AM
re: 4 Million Patients At Risk After Computer Theft From Chicago Medical Group
Outraged, offended by Dr. McCune's statement: 1)"The most important thing is that this issue has no impact on patient care," said Kevin McCune, M.D., chief medical officer at Advocate Medical Group. 2)"Security is a top priority for our health care ministry. Nothing leads us to believe that the computers were taken for the information they contained or that any patient information has been used inappropriately."

Numbers added are mine.

1) Maybe not for him. Ask a patient or three. Don't remember the studies, sample sizes, a large percentage of patient charts have incorrect information, in addition to the private and sensitive.

2) Obviously not, res ipsa loquitur.
gev
50%
50%
gev,
User Rank: Moderator
9/25/2013 | 1:04:05 PM
re: 4 Million Patients At Risk After Computer Theft From Chicago Medical Group
What were 4 million records doing on a local computer?
Commentary
How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
Dr. Jethro Beekman, Technical Director,  3/3/2021
News
'ObliqueRAT' Now Hides Behind Images on Compromised Websites
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  3/2/2021
News
Attackers Turn Struggling Software Projects Into Trojan Horses
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: George has not accepted that the technology age has come to an end.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-23351
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-08
The package github.com/pires/go-proxyproto before 0.5.0 are vulnerable to Denial of Service (DoS) via the parseVersion1() function. The reader in this package is a default bufio.Reader wrapping a net.Conn. It will read from the connection until it finds a newline. Since no limits are implemented in ...
CVE-2009-20001
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in MantisBT before 2.24.5. It associates a unique cookie string with each user. This string is not reset upon logout (i.e., the user session is still considered valid and active), allowing an attacker who somehow gained access to a user's cookie to login as them.
CVE-2020-28466
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
This affects all versions of package github.com/nats-io/nats-server/server. Untrusted accounts are able to crash the server using configs that represent a service export/import cycles. Disclaimer from the maintainers: Running a NATS service which is exposed to untrusted users presents a heightened r...
CVE-2021-27364
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. drivers/scsi/scsi_transport_iscsi.c is adversely affected by the ability of an unprivileged user to craft Netlink messages.
CVE-2021-27365
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. Certain iSCSI data structures do not have appropriate length constraints or checks, and can exceed the PAGE_SIZE value. An unprivileged user can send a Netlink message that is associated with iSCSI, and has a length up to the maximum length...