Apr 222019
 

From a press release by pediatric orthopedic surgeon Ronald Snyder, M.D.:

April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — On April 18, 2019 Ronald Snyder, M.D., (“Dr. Snyder”), announced a recent event that may have impacted the privacy of personal information relating to certain individuals. While Dr. Snyder is unaware of any attempted or actual misuse of personal information in relation to the event, his office is providing potentially affected individuals with notice of the event, information about the event, his office’s response to it, and steps individuals may take to better protect against the possibility of identity theft and fraud, should they feel it is necessary to do so.

What Happened? On January 9, 2019, Dr. Snyder’s staff became aware that electronic information stored on his office’s computer server had been encrypted as the result of a “ransomware” cyber-attack by an unknown actor.  Because the server that was encrypted stored patient billing information, Dr. Snyder’s immediate goals were to (1) ensure his office could still access patient information that had been encrypted so that his office could continue to care for patients without disruption; and (2) investigate what happened and confirm as quickly as possible if this incident resulted in any unauthorized access to, or theft of, patient information by the unknown actor. Because the office regularly creates backup copies of patient information, Dr. Snyder was able to quickly gain access to almost all patient information that had been encrypted and easily restored information that was not accessible.  He also immediately began working with outside cybersecurity and computer forensics experts to determine whether any patient information was subject to unauthorized access.

Since Dr. Snyder learned about this issue on January 9, 2019, he has taken every necessary step to investigate this incident and the impact it may have on patient information, which included working with multiple industry-leading experts to recover the important information that was encrypted on the computer server. Unfortunately, after many efforts and attempts, Dr. Snyder learned on April 2, 2019 that he would be unable to determine whether this incident resulted in unauthorized access to patient information, due to the damage done to the computer server and the information stored on it.

Although Dr. Snyder has no indication that any patient information was specifically targeted, viewed, or stolen by an unauthorized actor in relation to this incident, he is notifying potentially affected individuals about this incident in an abundance of caution due to the uncertain nature of the incident.

What Information Was Involved? Dr. Snyder determined the server that was encrypted stored medical billing information, which may include: name, address, date of birth, gender, co-pay amount, patient status, employment status, telephone number, email address, and certain patients’ insurance identification number, which may be a Social Security number. There is no indication that any such information was specifically targeted, viewed, or stolen by an unauthorized actor in relation to this incident.  However, a complete investigation to make that determination was not possible.

What Dr. Snyder is Doing. Dr. Snyder takes this incident and the security of patient information in his practice’s care very seriously.  As part of his practice’s ongoing commitment to the privacy and security of patient information, he is working to review existing policies and procedures and to implement additional safeguards to further secure the information in his systems. He is also notifying the Department of Health and Human Services, other government regulators, as required, and prominent news media outlets in the state of New Jersey. Dr. Snyder also notified law enforcement of this incident.

In addition, while he is not aware or any actual or attempted misuse of personal information in relation to this incident, he is offering potentially affected individuals access to 1 year of complimentary identity restoration services through TransUnion.

What Potentially Affected Individuals Can Do. Potentially affected individuals can find out more about how to protect against potential identity theft and fraud in the enclosed Steps You Can Take to Prevent Fraud and Identity Theft.  Potentially affected individuals can also enroll to receive the free identity restoration services being offered.

For More Information. If you are a potentially affected individual and have questions about this incident, please call our dedicated assistance line at 855-222-3630, Monday through Friday (except holidays), during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

Read the full release on Dr. Snyder’s web site, here.

Apr 212019
 

Jim Silver and Hailey Waller report:

EmCare Inc. recently learned an unauthorized party obtained access to a number of employees’ email accounts that contained the personal information of as many as 60,000 individuals, 31,000 of which are patients, the company said in an email.

On Feb. 19, the physician-services provider determined the accounts contained some patients’, employees’ and contractors’ personal information, including name, date of birth or age, and for some patients, clinical information. In some instances, Social Security and driver’s license numbers were affected, according to a company statement.

Read more on Bloomberg.

Comment: The text of EmCare’s press release appears below. I’ve emailed them to ask a few questions, including  when the breach occurred and when they first discovered that there had been an incident. I’ll update this post if I get a response. But it strikes me as somewhat absurd to provide false reassurances such as “There is no evidence to suggest that the information has been misused, or that anyone will attempt to misuse the information.” Well, maybe there’s no evidence that they’ve found that information has already been misused, but do they think attackers are just accessing or trying to access employee and patient data for the fun of it?  If you can’t tell whether the data was exfiltrated – or even accessed – then perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to issue any reassurances.  This is one of those cases where it might be best to just say, “Despite our attempts to figure out what happened, we just don’t know, so take precautions.”


PLANTATION, Fla., April 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — EmCare, Inc. and its affiliates (EmCare) today announced that they are addressing a data security incident that involved the personal information of some patients, employees and contractors. EmCare has launched an internal investigation, notified individuals who may have been impacted and implemented additional security measures to prevent future occurrences.

EmCare recently became aware that an unauthorized third party obtained access to a number of EmCare employees’ email accounts. Upon learning of the incident, EmCare promptly launched a comprehensive investigation and obtained a leading forensic security firm to help determine the scope of the incident and those impacted. In addition, EmCare is taking measures to help prevent this type of incident from occurring in the future, including implementing advanced information technology (IT) solutions and providing all employees further training and reminders about email and IT security.

On Feb. 19, 2019, EmCare determined that the impacted email accounts contained some patients’, employees’ and contractors’ personal information, including name, date of birth or age, and for some patients, clinical information. In addition, in some instances, Social Security and driver’s license numbers were impacted.

There is no evidence to suggest that the information has been misused, or that anyone will attempt to misuse the information. In addition, EmCare is not aware of any individual who has been impacted by fraud or identity theft as a result and does not know if any personal information was actually obtained by an unauthorized party. For the subset of patients and employees whose Social Security or driver’s license numbers were impacted, EmCare has arranged for identity protection and credit monitoring services.

Beginning April 19, 2019, EmCare is sending written notification to all impacted individuals for whom it has contact information. If individuals did not receive written notification but have received care from a clinician employed by or engaged with EmCare and its affiliates or believe they could have been impacted, they can request information by calling the confidential inquiry line at 855.424.0467 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. Additional information is available on www.EmCare.com.

Individuals should refer to the notice they received in the mail to learn how they can protect themselves against potential fraud and identity theft. As a precautionary measure, individuals should remain vigilant about opening suspicious emails and reviewing their account statements and credit reports. If unauthorized activity is suspected, they should promptly notify the financial institution or company with which the account is maintained and report the activity to the proper law enforcement authorities, including the police and their state’s attorney general.

The Federal Trade Commission offers additional information on fraud alerts, security freezes and ways to avoid identity theft. These can be found by visiting www.ftc.gov/idtheft, calling 1.877.438.4338 or sending a letter to:

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

EmCare apologizes for any inconvenience or concern that this incident might cause. EmCare remains committed to providing patients the highest quality of care and working with healthcare partners to improve the health of communities.

Source: EmCare

Apr 202019
 

WTXL reports:

The United Way of the Big Bend is investigating a possible data security breach that occurred when taxpayer information was stolen from an employee in March.

The organization says that 64 taxpayers’ information may be exposed after their information was stolen from the vehicle of a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) site coordinator in March. They say they have already contacted the individuals who may be affected by the possible security breach and are working with authorities to determine how their information may have been compromised.

Read more on WTXL.

Apr 192019
 

Todd Ackerman reports:

MD Anderson Cancer Center is ousting three scientists in connection with concerns China is trying to steal U.S. scientific research, the first such publicly disclosed punishments since federal officials directed some institutions to investigate specific professors in violation of granting agency policies.

MD Anderson took the actions after receiving e-mails last year from the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s largest public funder of biomedical research, describing conflicts of interest or unreported foreign income by five faculty members. The agency, which has been assisted by the FBI, gave the cancer center 30 days to respond.

Read more on The Houston Chronicle.

Apr 192019
 

Laura Hautala reports:

It’s some of the most sensitive medical information a person could have. Records for potentially thousands of patients seeking treatment at several addiction rehabilitation centers were exposed in an unsecured online database, an independent researcher revealed Friday [link corrected by DataBreaches.net].

The records included patients’ names, as well as details of the treatment they received, Justin Paine, the researcher, says. Each patient had multiple records in the database, and Paine estimates there could be about 145,000 patients total in the database.

Paine notified the main treatment center, as well as the website hosting company, when he discovered the database. The data has since been made unavailable to the public. Paine found the data by typing keywords into the Shodan search engine that indexes servers and other devices that connect to the internet.

Read more on CNET.