Cloudy with a chance of PHI leaks
Maybe we should do this one as a “write your own headline” exercise.
Earlier this week, Kromtech Security reported that they had uncovered yet another improperly secured AWS S3 bucket that was exposing protected health information. The company that was responsible for the collection of the home monitoring data, Patient Home Monitoring, was exposing what Kromtech’s Bob Diachenko described as 316,363 PDF reports consisting of weekly blood test results (INR) used to monitor and adjust patients’ Coumadin (Warfarin) dosage.
Kromtech estimated that the 316,363 files represented approximately 150,000 unique patients, and the exposed protected health information consisted of plain text patient name, date of birth, doctor’s name, blood test results, phone number, and in some cases, clinical notes and diagnoses.
According to their report, Kromtech discovered the leaky bucket on September 29, and notified PHM on October 5. The bucket was secured by the following day, they report, but PHM never acknowledged Kromtech’s notification.
Fast-forward one week later: PHM still hasn’t acknowledged Kromtech’s notification or thanked them for alerting them to their leak.
Nor has PHM contacted Kromtech to ask them if the security firm is still in possession of patient data, and if so, whether they are encrypting it and whether they would consider securely deleting it.
And oh yes, PHM has not contacted Kromtech to ask them if they have shared unredacted protected health information with any others, like, say, journalists?
Keep in mind that in the absence of any statement by PHM, we currently do not know for how long those data have been accessible without any login required. Nor do we know how many others may have downloaded the data.
PHM not only failed to respond to Kromtech, they also failed to respond to DataBreaches.net, who reached out to them at the beginning of this week to inquire about the leak and to give PHM an opportunity to comment or inform the public what they were doing in response to the incident.
Another day, another PHI leak due to a misconfigured bucket – despite the fact that Amazon even reached out to customers to remind them of the need to block public access.
So…. what should the headline be for this story? Use the Comments section below if you have a good suggestion.