Industry News

Do data breaches have a limit of affordability?

Healthcare case as public organization

A recent data leak from a pediatric hospital in the US compromised the personal information of more than 1.5 million people.

Following a facility remodeling project, three unencrypted backup tapes holding names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, financial details, as well as medical records of employees and patients of Nemours Children Hospital in Delware were reported missing.

Negligent handling of sensitive personal data is no longer breaking news in healthcare. On the contrary.

Moreover, as a study suggests, the top three types of data breaches in this sector are theft, unauthorized access and loss. Hacking and improper disposal comes next. The stats do say a lot about the way medical institutions understand and manipulate patients’ data. Up to a point, I accept that negligence is understandable – even pardonable – for organizations (please do read people) whose first and foremost mission is to save and safeguard the life of their patients, rather than their patients’ data. But with 54 percent of 600 providers, health insurers and other healthcare professionals in US, for instance, admitted that that their organizations had experienced some type of privacy and security-related issue over the last two years – according to another survey – I think the limit is a bit loose.

Luckily, it seems the Nemours tapes weren’t actually stolen and no information on them has been accessed or misused so far, according to a hospital press release. Chances are – I just hope so – that they were simply misplaced.

Safe surfing everybody!

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About the author

Răzvan LIVINTZ

With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on www.hotforsecurity.com.

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples http://martzipan.blogspot.com), messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.

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