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Heartbleed Not Only Reason For Health Systems Breach
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Alison_Diana
Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
8/20/2014 | 5:03:32 PM
Communication Gap
All too often, healthcare's security teams -- if there even is a dedicated security team -- cannot fully engage top leadership about the risks their organization runs if it doesn't get the right tools and resources. Sadly, the fact that CHS' stock continues to rise after this breach does little to help CSOs and their teams.
Robert McDougal
Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
8/20/2014 | 6:11:45 PM
Re: Communication Gap
@Diana, you are obviously a veteran of the healthcare information security wars.  While there are some healthcare organizations which take information security seriously, the overwhelming majority view HIPAA as either a set of recomendations or a checkbox regulation.  To be honest, they are stuck in the 90's.  Hopefully this will wake some of them up.
RyanSepe
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
8/21/2014 | 8:36:48 AM
Re: Communication Gap
Speaking as someone from a Healthcare Information Security Team, these concerns are quite valid. But there are other justifications as to why it might be difficult for some healthcare organizations to incorporate certain security measures. From my organizations configuration we monitor traffic ingress and egress points, so exfiltration would have been picked up. HIPAA is not an option and for hospitals that do not want to receive large fines from regulatory agents its not an option either.

There is segmentation in healthcare organizations but I speak of from the corporate side and this tends to be detrimental. The segmentation between clinical corporate and computer services corporate. Most of the time clincial will outweigh in a healthcare organization, especially in a non-profit healthcare organization, because the #1 reason for business is patient care. I believe thats something that we should not lose sight of.

We followed the remediation steps denoted in this article and more. But it is difficult when there are other projects going on to get other teams on board especially when functionality is their main objective. The lesson to this last point is that security teams need to follow up. Other scans need to be performed after to ensure that nothing was missed. That being said healthcare is behind, especially the non-profits. What methods have other healthcare organizations done, with similar issues, to combat the latency gap of healthcare?
aws0513
aws0513,
User Rank: Ninja
8/21/2014 | 8:47:12 AM
What we do not know yet.
I am not surprised by this news. 
I am also not surprised by the lack of defense-in-depth regarding security protocols and controls. 
At this point, the only remaining bit of information I am interested in is how they discovered the breach.  Was it an internal audit?  Was it a spike in network activity?

I am developing particularly thick shell regarding information breaches.  Not in reaction, but in preparation.  I believe there are many more breach reports to come from all parts of the world and all industries.  As the world very... very slowly becomes more security conscious, organizations are standing up their security programs.  As these security programs begin to put in basic security controls, information from those controls will, if they are working correctly, identify more breaches.  In more mature security programs, there are likely areas where there are weaknesses in the capability to identify breaches as soon as possible.

The only question that remains is in how transparent the organization leadership is in notifying share holders, law or regulatory entities, and the general public when a breach is identified.  This is likely going to be an ongoing debate for years to come.

Knowing how the breach occurred is important, but it is also important to learn specifics about how the victim discovered the breach in the first place.  That information can be helpful to other organizations that are still developing their security programs.  The same information can also be helpful for more mature security programs to engage new initiatives to improve relevant controls.
Robert McDougal
Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
8/21/2014 | 8:47:54 AM
Re: Communication Gap
Great points Ryan!

I would also like to point out that simply standing up a IDS would not have prevented or even alerted this type of attack.  Based on what I have read, the only way to have caught this would be to monitor netflow data and look for spikes.  

Most organizations, not just healthcare, do not have someone assigned to monitor the netflow data 24x7 so I think this would have gone unnoticed in many organizations.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
8/21/2014 | 9:17:45 AM
Re: What we do not know yet.
@aws0513 writes that "the only question that remains is in how transparent the organization leadership is in notifying share holders, law or regulatory entities, and the general public when a breach is identified."

Sadly I think that unless organizations are required by law to be transparent, the status quo will continue for a long time for all but the most security-focused businesses. It's a tragedy-in-the- making for healthcare not to be counted among them. 
AnonymousMan
AnonymousMan,
User Rank: Moderator
8/21/2014 | 6:54:01 PM
Re: Communication Gap
Neither would have netflow, unless their network traffic patterns are very predictible and/or the attackers were very stupid.  Often neither is the case. Let's assume each record was average 200 bytes and 10:1 compression.  Even a single file with all 4.5 million records would not be very big in the grand scheme of what often flows across a network. And that assumes the file wasn't split into smaller parts.

Sadly, the reality is that breaches are now just a part of life on the Internet.  Even organizations with relatively strong security can become victims if there is sufficient motivation. 
RyanSepe
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
8/22/2014 | 9:02:21 AM
Re: Communication Gap
I agree with your last statement. But the risk can be lowered substantially through a strong security posture. However, as attacks evolve so must the protections and unfortunately the attacks are evolving faster than the patrol.
Some Guy
Some Guy,
User Rank: Moderator
8/22/2014 | 9:24:31 AM
Like NSA & Snowden, data needs to be encrypted at rest
This is just symptomatic of no defense in depth. Data needs to be protected in flight AND at rest. And hiding behind a single Curtain Wall didn't even work in castles 600 years ago. Just like the NSA Snowden fiasco, CHS owes it to their patients, stakeholders and regulators to take irrevocable corrective action.
AnonymousMan
AnonymousMan,
User Rank: Moderator
8/22/2014 | 4:09:00 PM
Re: Like NSA & Snowden, data needs to be encrypted at rest
it's symptomatic of every single large IT environment in existence.  NO ONE is immune. Not the banks. Not the Gov't, or their contactors. Not security companies.  And, not your organization. Encryption isn't a magic cure for breaches.  Target encrypted the data that was stolen at resta and in transit.  But at some point the data has to be in clear text to be useful, and whatever processes involved can be subverted. 
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