Health data and medical records belonging to millions of Americans have been found online, unprotected and available for abuse by anyone with basic computer knowledge.
A U.S. based company called MobilexUSA, for example, was found with a server that displays the names of more than a million patients, including their dates of birth, doctors, and procedure history. The company has since tightened its security measures after being notified by ProPublica. An imaging system linked to a physician in Los Angeles allowed anyone with internet to see patients' echocardiograms.
All in all, health data from more than 16 million scans globally was readily available online, including patient names, dates of birth, and in the worse cases, Social Security numbers.
There is currently no evidence that the patient data was compromised or copied and published elsewhere, but the consequences of unauthorized access to this private information could be devastating.
ProPublica's investigation stemmed from original findings by Greenbone Networks, a German security firm that identified security issues in 52 countries. NNT is the sole North American reseller of Greenbone, to learn more, visit our website.
Dirk Schrader with Greenbone first shared his research with Bayerischer Rundfunk after learning that patient health records were at risk. The journalists later approached ProPublica to explore the extent of the damage in the U.S.
Schrader identified 5 servers in Germany and a staggering 187 in the U.S. that allowed users to access patient records without entering a password. Schrader also determined that the data from over 13.7 million medical tests in the U.S. were available online, including 400,000 X-Rays or other images that could be downloaded.
The report found that larger hospital facilities and academic medical centers generally speaking have the proper security protocols in place. In most cases, the unprotected data was found involving independent radiologists, medical imaging centers, and archiving services.
Security experts believe this exposure of patient data violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, the law requiring health providers to ensure Americans' health data is confidential and secured.
NNT combines the essential, foundational security controls prescribed by HIPAA and CIS with the operational discipline of change management.
By ensuring you have the essential security controls in place, combined with the ability to correlate changes in environment with an approved ticket or set of intelligent rules, organizations are able to get audit ready, prevent and protect themselves against all forms of breach as well as gain full control of changes for both security and operational peace of mind.