What kind of month was April for health data breaches?

Protenus has published its Breach Barometer for April, with data and some analyses provided by this site. The analyses were based on the following incidents:

Significantly, perhaps, one of the worst incidents in terms of potential harm to individual patients was one that only appeared on HHS’s breach tool because this site discovered it and notified the entity that its patients’ psychotherapy records appeared to be up for sale on the dark web.

Records from Behavioral Health Center were up for sale on the dark web.

Of note, the hacker never attempted to extort the clinic to see if the clinic would pay to get the data back – the data were just put up for sale with an asking price of  a minimum of $10,000.00 (about $2-$3 per patient).

Another candidate for worst breach of the month was the Erie County Medical Center ransomware attack, which is still not totally resolved. Thankfully, the center had backups and other means of accessing patient records and information or the impact on care could have been a nightmare.

While DataBreaches.net considered these perhaps the worst breaches of the month (admittedly a somewhat subjective determination), perhaps my biggest concern in reviewing the April data was wondering how many incident reports we are not seeing on HHS’s breach tool. Are we missing so many incidents from both HIPAA-covered and non-HIPAA-covered entities that what we do know about is not really representative of what’s going on with threats to health data security?  Is HHS’s public breach tool giving us any kind of accurate insights into risks and breaches involving health data, or is it just significantly underestimating and misrepresenting the real risks?  I’ll have more to say on this in another post.

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