IT Security Missteps for Healthcare Industry in 2019

Published in Member Communities on July 16, 2019

When we know better, we do better. It comes to no surprise that every year there will be security breaches. Our hope is that each year we are able to play a part in limiting the number of breaches that occur. These are just a handful of the data breaches that have happened in the healthcare industry so far this year. We can learn from these incidents and take time to realize the consequences of lagging behind in cyber defense.

Touchstone Medical Imaging

Touchstone Medical Imaging faced a hefty breach costing them $3 million. It occurred when the company left one of its FTP servers open. An FTP server is a type of computer where file exchanges happen. Unfortunately, this ended up being accessible over the internet, letting unauthorized individuals have access to protected health information.

It took the company five months to take actions to secure the information, thereby exposing more patients for even longer. Additionally, they failed to notify the patients of the breach and the media in accordance with federal law.

UW Medicine

One million patients’ PHI was exposed through Seattle’s UW Medicine server. Protections on their server were accidentally removed, causing sensitive information to be accessed by internet search engines. Anyone was able to access this information. It was first discovered by a patient who searched their own name online and saw their personal information displayed in the open. The information exposed was directly related to their patient care, not any social security or financial information. They acted quickly and swiftly upon finding out about the breach, but alerting patients alone cost them $1 million.

Navicent Health

This breach was the direct result of a cyber attack through Navicent’s email system. All PHI was compromised including the financial and social security information. It impacted 278,016 patients.

American Medical Collection Agency

The AMCA had a system hack that impacted twenty million patients. The hack went unnoticed for 8 months. This is obviously a gross amount of negligence on the part of the AMCA and will cost them millions of dollars. The investigation is still ongoing as to why it took them so long to identify the breach and what they plan to do about the attack.

Healthcare industries cannot take cybersecurity too seriously. The information that hackers want is incredibly valuable and it's imperative that the industry takes protecting it seriously. Talk to us about cyber insurance for breach protection.


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