Healthcare computer systems harbor the most useful three pieces of personal identifying information that can be used for fraud and identity theft – names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth. With these three pieces of important and essential personal identifying data, hackers, fraudsters and impersonators can do virtually anything they would like.
Increase in Healthcare Data Breaches
In 2016, there were over 300 instances of healthcare data breaches. The Top Ten Healthcare Data Breaches of 2016 affected over 16 million people. There has been a significant increase in the number of healthcare data breaches that have occurred in just 2017 alone. The number of cyberattacks reported in March surpassed the number of cyber attacks that were reported in January and February combined, according to Healthcare ITNews. The March, attacks alone affected more than 1.5 million patients. This is a persistent problem for which it is difficult to manage. Being prepared for a data breach is sometimes the best that healthcare systems can do.
IVF Clinic’s Server Hacked in New Jersey
In late February, the New Jersey Diamond Institute for Fertility and Menopause discovered a serious breach of patients’ electronic health records. The health data of more than 14,500 patients was exposed in the incident, and officials are unclear when the breach was initiated. While some of the data that was contained on the breached server was encrypted, a multitude of other supporting medical documentation was stored in an unencrypted fashion on the affected server. Personal identifying information that was exposed in the breach includes:
- Date of birth information
- Social Security numbers for patients
- Lab results
New Jersey Diamond Institute for Fertility and Menopause immediately reset all passwords for the system upon discover of the data breach, and updated its firewall protection software. Affected patients are currently being notified about the breach, and are being offered free credit monitoring services.
UK Health Systems Locked Down by Ransomware
A recent, and pretty scary, healthcare data breach involved computer systems at 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom that were simultaneously taken hostage by hackers. A ransomware attack rendered the computer systems useless, and because the hospitals could not access patient records, test results, or medical scans, patients were turned away from the affected hospitals in droves. While similar cyberattacks have happened in the United States, for example the 2016 attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the ransomware attack on the 16 UK health institutes is the most recent occurrence of healthcare systems being taken hostage by hackers.
Contact a Healthcare Cybersecurity Lawyer
Cyberattacks made on healthcare systems are occurring more frequently and healthcare systems are trying to keep up with their computer system safeguards. Ransomware is a cybersecurity threat that is more and more commonly being used against healthcare systems. Despite best efforts, cyberattacks keep successfully happening, and when they do, patients are the ones who suffer the most.
Revision Legal works with companies and healthcare systems to help manage cybersecurity issues and the aftermath of a cybersecurity breach. Contact the experienced healthcare data breach lawyers at Revision Legal. Please feel free to reach out to us today. Contact us using the form on this page or call us at 855-473-8474.