NTreatment inadvertently exposed thousands of medical records online by neglecting to add password protection to one of its cloud servers, TechCrunch reports.
The health technology company, which handles electronic health records for doctors, had put 109,000 files in a cloud storage server hosted on Microsoft Azure. Many of these files held medical records, doctor's notes, insurance claims, lab test results from third-party providers, and other sensitive information for patients in the United States. None of the information was encrypted.
NTreatment secured the information after TechCrunch reached out. However, it's unclear how long the data, which also included internal company files and children's medical data, was left exposed in the storage server. The company will reportedly notify affected healthcare providers and regulators.
The incident underscores healthcare organizations' need to buckle down on protecting patient data. In this case, the data exposed was considered protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Violating HIPAA can lead to pricey fines, but beyond that, the type of information it's designed to protect could prove valuable to cybercriminals.
"Fraudsters can leverage the exposed medical records, lab results, doctors' notes, insurance claims, and internal company documents to impersonate legitimate patients and commit insurance fraud, seek covered medical care, and refill unauthorized prescriptions," says Jumio CEO Robert Prigge, who adds it's likely the exposed data may be circulating on the Dark Web.
Read more details here.