Oct 152018

Amitai Ziv reports:

Serious security breaches in the website of Magen David Adom, also known as MDA, have led to the leaking of identifying information about patients, sensitive medical information, financial information and even information on organization volunteers.

A so-called white hat hacker – who finds breaches to improve cybersecurity rather than to attack sites – revealed the information this week. The hacker, Eliel Hauzi, is a professional programmer and veteran of the army’s Encryption and Security Center who checks the security of websites in his free time.

Read more on Haaretz. It turns out he subsequently found yet another problem with MDA, leading them to take it completely offline for a time.

Oct 152018

Rachel Eddie reports:

Kitchenware brand Neoflam Australia has mistakenly published its internal warranty records, exposing the private information of more than 7500 of its customers, The New Daily can reveal.

A page under the brand’s website revealed the full name, age or age bracket, gender, phone number, home address and email of customers from between 2010 and 2015.

Read more on The New Daily.

Oct 122018

Here’s what appears to be a serious breach involving Google drive and syncing. Henrietta Cook reports:

Confidential files detailing high school students’ medical conditions, including anxiety issues and those at risk of suicide, have been found on a Melbourne schoolgirl’s iPad.

The document contains photos, names and medical and family details of years 7 to 12 students at Manor Lakes P-12 College in Wyndham Vale in Melbourne’s south-west.


The 14-year-old girl discovered the document on her iPad last month and said she had no idea how it got there.

Now read the following explanation from the Education Department carefully, because this looks very much like what some people reported in Springfield, Missouri Public Schools:

He said the private student information had been inadvertently shared with one student.

He said in May, the student borrowed a teacher’s laptop because she did not have her own device. The teacher sat next to the student while she completed an assignment on the borrowed computer, the spokesman said.

The student accessed her own Google documents on the machine.

The spokesman said that when the teacher later used her laptop the document they opened synced with the student’s account. This meant it turned up on the student’s own Google drive.

The spokesman said there was no evidence that private and personal school documents had been obtained by anyone other than the individual student.

But the girl’s father said that his daughter never used the teacher’s laptop.

“She doesn’t recall using a teacher’s device at all this year,” he said.

Read more on Canberra Times.  How did the teacher’s laptop sync with the student’s own Google drive? What configuration hell led to this mess? What should the district have done to prevent this from ever happening? COULD the district have prevented it or is there something in Google’s G-Suite coding that pretty much makes this kind of nightmare not only predictable but inevitable?
I’ll be reporting more on the Springfield case in the near future, but it’s interesting – albeit frustrating – that the reporting on this Melbourne case does not do a deeper dive into how this happened and how it could have been prevented – if it could have been.
I know there are those whose immediate hypothesis will be poor password hygiene or poor browser hygiene on the part of the users (in this case, the teacher). But by now, Google has to know that there’s poor password hygiene and poor browser hygiene. So why doesn’t it code take that into account enough?  Or did it take it into account but the district failed to follow directions? And how often do districts fail to configure Google products to be appropriately privacy-protective? Does Google’s coding and default settings take that into account?
Oct 112018

Richard Woodbury reports:

A proposed settlement worth about $400,000 has been reached in a Nova Scotia class-action lawsuit relating to the improper access of patients’s personal health information by an employee of the former Capital District Health Authority, according to a law firm involved in the case.

The breaches by former employee Katharine Zinck Lawrence, who accessed the information of an estimated 105 friends and family members while working for the health authority, occurred between 2005 and the fall of 2011.

What I find especially interesting is how the money will be shared among victim patients:

According to Wagners, the proposed settlement says non-relatives shall each receive $1,400, while relatives would receive $2,750 because of the familial relationship with Zinck.

A third category could see patients receive up to $8,000 if they feel they’ve suffered additional harm as a result of the breaches.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any case in the U.S. that involved employee snooping result in monetary compensation at that level. Can any reader think of a comparable outcome here?  Even when HHS enters into a settlement as opposed to a class action lawsuit settlement, there is no money distributed to victims of a snooping employee.

Read more on CBC.