#9: 300,000 Medical Records Put Online
Summary: About 300,000 detailed medical records sat on the Internet unsecured for several months.
Details: Insurance forms, Social Security numbers and doctors’ notes. Among the files were summaries that spelled out, in painstaking detail, a trucker’s crushed fingers, a maintenance worker’s broken ribs and one man’s bout with sexual dysfunction.
Why Significant: This is significant for several reasons:
- Highlights the persistent interest in taking medical records. According to Privacy Clearinghouse, medical records are a consistent “favorite” every year for hackers and insiders.
- This breach illustrates how to use medical records:
- Criminals: Blackmail and public humiliation.
- Noncriminals: “The information can also be used by insurance companies to inflate rates, or by employers to deny job applicants.”
- Foreshadows issues with broader digitization of electronic health records. Obamacare requires digital health records by 2014–but are we ready from a security standpoint?