Hospitals are not the Only Ones Suffering from Health Data Theft

Published Date : Dec 16, 2015

When it comes to losing personal health data through hacking or any means of cyber theft, hospitals are naturally the most vulnerable targets. In recent times, health care companies across the world have become targets of cyber attacks. For instance, this year Excellus, UCLA Health Systems, and Premera all came under cyber attacks, releasing millions of customers’ personal health data into the wild. 

However, according to Verizon, health care companies are not the only ones bleeding from stolen personal health records. A research published by the business division at Verizon has revealed that a whopping 90 per cent of industries ranging from mining and construction to finance and retail have all experienced a breach of personal health information. 

The researchers at Verizon evaluated data collected over 20 years and across 25 nations. During this time, 1,900 breaches were reported, which led to almost 400 million stolen health records. And because there were organizations that did not accurately report the extent of their security breaches, this number is likely much higher. 

Even though organizations in these industries may not have large databases of patient information the way hospitals, health care companies, or health care facilities do, every business does have personal data of their employees pertaining to compensation claims, wellness programs, and employee benefits, and these three segments contain significant amount of personal health data. 

The problem here is that these companies, which do not belong to the health care industry, are more focused on securing customer data or their own intellectual property and they do not take sufficient steps to protect health data in the way they would other critical information. And so when these companies are hacked into and personal health data stolen, it always comes as a shock. It is the hard truth that setting up a strong encryption program is just not the main priority for several companies.