"Celebrating" the Worst
This past Saturday was "National Data Privacy Day," did you party? At Axis we made sure all of our closest friends and their friends had masks on. :-) Network World's Carolyn Duffy rounded up the worst Internet privacy scandals of all time. While there were many memorable, painful breaches in recent years, the one we definitely feel is up there among the top "worst" was last March's HealthNet breach: 8. Patient data exposed In March 2011, California-based insurer HealthNet announced a privacy breach for nearly 2 million of its customers, exposing their names, addresses, Social Security numbers, health and financial data. The data were unencrypted and stored on hard drives that have gone missing from contractor IBM's data centre. A nationwide class action suit was filed against HealthNet and IBM as a result of this incident. It was HealthNet's second big data breach in two years, having lost the Social Security numbers of 1.5 million policyholders stored on a hard drive in 2009. HealthNet isn't the only healthcare provider to lose private medical data or inadvertently post it online. The US Department of Health and Human Services says personal medical data for more than 11 million people have been exposed online in the last two years. Loss of private data is continuing to plague the healthcare industry and according to a study conducted by the Poneman Institute, breaches have risen by 32 percent. Three leading causes of data breaches in health care are lost or stolen equipment, errors by third parties and employee mistakes. In fact, sloppy mistakes by employees have led to many data breach increases, according to 41 percent of respondents. Data breaches have cost the health care industry an average of $6.5 billion annually since 2010. With that money, the industry would have been able to hire 81,250 nurses nationwide, the Ponemon Institute reports. This is extremely unsettling when it's put that way. If healthcare organizatons took a simple step, they would literally eliminate costly risks that could have life-saving results. What a waste.