Why Fax Machines Pose a Risk to Health Data

Published in Member Communities on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Is It Time to Ditch the Telefax?

Many health care organizations still use fax machines to communicate information. If the physical data is not disposed of properly, it can present a major risk to the organization and their patients. If your organization is still on the fax machine train, here’s why you may want to consider an alternative.

When was the last time you sent or received a fax? If the answer was anytime in the not so distant past, it’s time to change up the communication protocols at your organization. Because these have been in use for so long, many don’t consider them hackable or attractive to hackers.

The primary and most obvious risk is patient information being sent to the wrong number. One wrong click can quickly send personal information without a cancellation option. Additionally, did you know that all a hacker would need to crack the device is the fax number? And many organizations will even display their fax number front and center on their website or provider business cards.

Hacking

  1. Fax machines have absolutely no encryption. A cybercriminal would simply need to tap into the fax number line and they would be able to intercept any information being sent.

  2. It goes beyond just intercepting a phone line to steal information. If your fax number is tied to the internal network of your organization, all the hacker would need to do is send an ill-intentioned fax in order to enter the entire network. It is almost similar to leaving the door wide open with a flashing sign saying “hackers welcome.”

  3. After accessing the internal network, they would be able to import harmful software attacks and take over poorly protected devices and their data.

Hardware Exposed

Unfortunately, there are many times when fax machines don’t get disposed of correctly. Often times, this is because many people don’t realize the information that it holds. When you go to dispose or replace the fax machine, it can hold as much as the last 40,000 pages of information. Even if you had someone come to make repairs on the machine, they would be able to take the private information they wanted off of it with ease. This is why it is very important to have your machine completely wiped before returning it to the leaseholder or throwing it away.

While this may sound harsh, we would recommend having your fax machine cleared by experts, disposed of and replaced with an online communication system that is encrypted. Learn more about our Hardware/Software service offerings.


comments powered by Disqus

From Our Experts

Meet Our Members: Don Whitney, COO and CCO of Inland Medical and Rehab thumbnail Meet Our Members: Don Whitney, COO and CCO of Inland Medical and Rehab Meet Don Whitney, COO and CCO of Inland Medical and Rehab! Don has been a U.S. Rehab member since 2012. We asked Don some questions about his role at Inland Medical and Rehab, his background, how they take care of their customers, and what it means to him to serve in this industry. Episode 47: Home Accessibility and the Overhead Lift Market thumbnail Episode 47: Home Accessibility and the Overhead Lift Market Vice President of VGM Live at Home, Jim Greatorex, is joined by James Philpott of Savaria/Span America to discuss the overhead lift market and opportunities for dealers. U.S. Rehab Supplier Partner Updates: February 2020 thumbnail U.S. Rehab Supplier Partner Updates: February 2020 U.S. Rehab Supplier Partner Updates: Feburary 2020 RAC Approved to Audit Hospital Beds and Manual Wheelchairs thumbnail RAC Approved to Audit Hospital Beds and Manual Wheelchairs The Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) has been approved to audit hospital beds and manual wheelchairs. Packer Perspective: How U.S. Rehab Can Help Your Business Succeed thumbnail Packer Perspective: How U.S. Rehab Can Help Your Business Succeed U.S. Rehab continues to work in the industry to help the independent provider of any size to stay competitive in the industry. We have set our plan for 2020 and are working towards making the rehab industry, as a whole, one of the top patient-centered industries in health care. How are we going to do that and make each of our 400-plus members successful? We are working in the legislative arena, the outcomes arena, the training arena, and the program-enhancement arena. Complex Manual Wheelchair Accessories Increase in 2020 - How Did Your Representative Vote? thumbnail Complex Manual Wheelchair Accessories Increase in 2020 - How Did Your Representative Vote? On December 20, 2019, H.R. 1865, which included permanent protections for Complex Rehab Manual Wheelchairs and their accessories/components was signed into law! Meet Our Members: Don Whitney, COO and CCO of Inland Medical and Rehab thumbnail Meet Our Members: Don Whitney, COO and CCO of Inland Medical and Rehab Meet Don Whitney, COO and CCO of Inland Medical and Rehab! Don has been a U.S. Rehab member since 2012. We asked Don some questions about his role at Inland Medical and Rehab, his background, how they take care of their customers, and what it means to him to serve in the CRT space. Episode 46: Reimbursement Update with Ronda Buhrmester thumbnail Episode 46: Reimbursement Update with Ronda Buhrmester Join us for a new monthly series with VGM's billing and reimbursement expert, Ronda Buhrmester. In this episode, Ronda discusses the January 2020 changes to order requirements, upcoming webinars and opportunities to connect with her at Medtrade Spring.