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.

Risk

8/15/2010
05:26 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Analysis: Healthcare Breach Costs May Reach $800 Million

According to an analysis by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), regulated health care organizations that have reported health information breaches of 500 or more people could cumulatively spend upwards of $1 billion in related costs.

According to an analysis by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), regulated health care organizations that have reported health information breaches of 500 or more people could cumulatively spend upwards of $1 billion in related costs.Since the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act or HITECH Act of 2009 came to being, a number of new privacy, security and reporting and non-compliance penalty provisions went into effect. And as summarized by this report from HITRSUT, there have been 108 entities who have reported security breaches since September of last year.

Those breaches comprise about 4 million people and records.

In the analysis, Chris Hourihan Manager, CSF Development and Operations, HITRUST used the 2009 Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach Study [.pdf], which found the average cost for each record within a data breach to be $204. That's $144 of indirect costs and $60 of direct costs. An overview of the Ponemon study is available here.

By doing the math on the HITECH related breaches, Hourihan estimates that the total cost for all organizations could reach $834 million: $245 million in direct costs for everyone and $2.3 million to $7.7 million in indirect costs.

While the trigger for breach notification is risk based, Hourihan estimates that health care organizations are being extremely cautious, and erring on the side of publicly reporting breaches, rather than being more conservative:

It is important to note that what constitutes a breach and is subsequently reported to the [Health and Human Services] Secretary: an organization believes the incident "poses a significant risk of financial, reputational, or other harm to the individual;" this does not mean some form of harm has been enacted upon everyone or even anyone affected. While this provides the possibility for an organization to not notify individuals-if the organization performs a risk assessment and determines the risk of harm is significantly low-organizations appear to be erring on the side of caution and providing notice to the individuals and Secretary regardless. In one specific instance with Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care, the laptop that was stolen was in fact encrypted, yet notice was still provided.

In breaking down the data breaches by how they occurred, Hourihan also found the majority of breaches to be by loss and theft:

Looking at the cross-section of these categories and focusing first on simply the number of breaches experienced, the theft of laptops was the number one cause resulting in a total of 32 breaches reported. The next closest leading causes are theft of desktop computers and theft of removable media resulting in 10 and 12 breaches respectively. The total number of thefts reported is an astonishing 68 or 63% of all breaches.

With those costs in mind, and the hassles associated with breach notification, it would seem more health care organizations would turn to encrypting of data at rest - and banning the use of notebooks and removable media for protected patient medical information.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, you can find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...