Laptop stolen from Morris Heights Health Center contained middle school students' health info

The Morris Heights Health Center in New York recently experienced a breach that it reported to HHS. In a notice reproduced on their web site, they explain:

Laptop computer stolen from MS 399 / MS 459

Bronx, NY, October 27, 2011– Morris Heights Health Center announced today that a laptop computer which may contain confidential information was stolen from MS 399 / MS 459, where Morris Heights serves as the School Based Health Center. A police investigation is underway to determine the individuals responsible and to recover the stolen property. There is no reason at this time to believe that any data on the missing laptop has been accessed or used improperly. The student information was protected by two layers of authentication but was not encrypted with a hash algorithm. While it is highly unlikely that a layperson could access the information, a person with advanced computer knowledge might be able to bypass the password protection.

The laptop contained basic student information that was collected in connection with a program initiated by the local public health department. The program concluded in June of last year but the data had not yet been removed from the laptop. Morris Heights has notified individuals who may be affected by this incident as well as the appropriate federal and state oversight agencies, as required by law. A copy of the notice provided to individuals is attached.


Copies of the notification letter were also posted on their site. According to the notification, data types on the laptop included full name, date of birth, gender, height weight, body mass index, ethnicity, asthma diagnosis and influenza vaccine status for the 2009 – 2010 school year.

According to their notification to HHS, 927 students had data on the laptop.

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