Recent News

California Bill Proposes Further Health Data Exemptions for CCPA

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) came into effect. CCPA enhanced privacy protections for state residents and gave Californians new rights over their personal data. Healthcare data covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules and...

Phishing Attack Reported by Adventist Health Sonora

Adventist Health Sonora in California has discovered an unauthorized individual has gained access to the email account of a hospital associate and potentially viewed patient information. The email account breach was detected by Adventist Health Sonora’s information security team on September 30,...

Quest Health Systems Discovers Additional Patients Impacted by 2018 Phishing Attack

Health Quest, now part of Nuvance Health, has discovered the phishing attack it experienced in July 2018 was more extensive than previously thought. Several employees were tricked into disclosing their email credentials by phishing emails, which allowed unauthorized individuals to access their...

44,000 Patients Impacted by Phishing Attacks on InterMed and Spectrum Healthcare Partners

The Portland, ME-based healthcare provider InterMed is notifying 33,000 patients that some of their protected health information has potentially been compromised as a result of a phishing attack. The attack was detected on September 6, 2019. An internal investigation confirmed that the account was...

Emergency Directives Issued by CISA and OCR to Mitigate Critical Windows Vulnerabilities

Microsoft has issued patches for several critical vulnerabilities in all supported Windows versions that require urgent attention to prevent exploitation. While there have been no reports of exploitation of the flaws in the wild, the seriousness of the vulnerabilities and their potential to be...

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California Bill Proposes Further Health Data Exemptions for CCPA

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) came into effect. CCPA enhanced privacy protections for state residents and gave Californians new rights over their personal data. Healthcare data covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules and...

Support for Windows 7 Finally Comes to an End

Microsoft is stopping free support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020, meaning no more patches will be released to fix vulnerabilities in the operating systems. Support for Office 2010 has also come to an end. The operating systems will be up to date...

Hospital Employee Pleads Guilty to Five-Year Account Hacking Spree

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that a former employee of a New York City hospital has pleaded guilty to using malicious software to obtain the credentials of coworkers, which he subsequently misused to steal sensitive information. Richard Liriano, 33, of the Bronx, New York, was...

Emergency Directives Issued by CISA and OCR to Mitigate Critical Windows Vulnerabilities

Microsoft has issued patches for several critical vulnerabilities in all supported Windows versions that require urgent attention to prevent exploitation. While there have been no reports of exploitation of the flaws in the wild, the seriousness of the vulnerabilities and their potential to be...

DHS Warns of Continuing Cyberattacks Exploiting Pulse Secure VPN Vulnerability

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a warning to Pulse Secure customers urging them to patch the 2019 Pulse Secure VPN vulnerability, CVE-2019-11510. Pulse Secure VPN servers that have not been patched are continuing to be attacked by cybercriminals. The threat...

Support for Windows 7 Finally Comes to an End

Microsoft is stopping free support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020, meaning no more patches will be released to fix vulnerabilities in the operating systems. Support for Office 2010 has also come to an end. The operating systems will be up to date...

Healthcare Threat Detections Up 45% in Q3 and 60% Higher Than 2018

Cyberattacks on healthcare organizations have increased in frequency and severity in the past year, according to recently published research from Malwarebytes. In its latest report – Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques: The 2019 State of Healthcare – Malwarebytes offers insights into the main...

Smartwatch Data Act Introduced to Improve Privacy Protections for Consumer Health Data

The Stop Marketing And Revealing The Wearables And Trackers Consumer Health (Smartwatch) Data Act, has been introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D., (R-Louisiana) and Jacky Rosen, (D-Nevada). The new legislation will ensure that health data collected through fitness trackers, smartwatches, and...

House Committee Leaders Request Answers from Google and Ascension on Project Nightingale Partnership

Leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce are seeking answers from Google and Ascension on Project Nightingale. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has also confirmed that an investigation has been launched to determine if HIPAA Rules have been...

Phishing Attack Reported by Adventist Health Sonora

Adventist Health Sonora in California has discovered an unauthorized individual has gained access to the email account of a hospital associate and potentially viewed patient information. The email account breach was detected by Adventist Health Sonora’s information security team on September 30,...

Quest Health Systems Discovers Additional Patients Impacted by 2018 Phishing Attack

Health Quest, now part of Nuvance Health, has discovered the phishing attack it experienced in July 2018 was more extensive than previously thought. Several employees were tricked into disclosing their email credentials by phishing emails, which allowed unauthorized individuals to access their...

44,000 Patients Impacted by Phishing Attacks on InterMed and Spectrum Healthcare Partners

The Portland, ME-based healthcare provider InterMed is notifying 33,000 patients that some of their protected health information has potentially been compromised as a result of a phishing attack. The attack was detected on September 6, 2019. An internal investigation confirmed that the account was...

California Bill Proposes Further Health Data Exemptions for CCPA

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) came into effect. CCPA enhanced privacy protections for state residents and gave Californians new rights over their personal data. Healthcare data covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules and...

Survey Reveals HIPAA Compliance Issues with Group Health Plan Sponsors

Many group health plan sponsors are not fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Rules, according to a recent survey by the integrated HR and benefits consulting, technology, and administration services firm, Buck. The survey uncovered several areas where group...

Georgia Man Charged Over False Allegations of HIPAA Violations

A Georgia man has been charged over an elaborate scheme to frame an acquaintance for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that never occurred. Jeffrey Parker, 43, of Richmond Hill, GA, claimed he was a whistleblower reporting HIPAA violations by a nurse. He...

HHS Increases Civil Monetary Penalties for HIPAA Violations in Line with Inflation

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has increased the civil monetary penalties for HIPAA violations in accordance with the Inflation Adjustment Act. The final rule took effect on Tuesday November 5, 2019. This rule increases the civil monetary penalties for HIPAA violations that...

Texas Health and Human Services Commission Pays $1.6 Million HIPAA Penalty

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has imposed a $1.6 million civil monetary penalty (CMP) on Texas Health and Human Services Commission (TX HHSC) for multiple violations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules. TX HHSC is a...

Lack of Encryption Leads to $3 Million HIPAA Penalty for New York Medical Center

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has paid a $3 million HIPAA penalty for the failure to encrypt mobile devices and other HIPAA violations. URMC is one of the largest health systems in New York State with more than 26,000 employees at the Medical Center and various other components...

Is iCloud HIPAA Compliant?

Is iCloud HIPAA compliant? Can healthcare organizations use iCloud for storing files containing electronic protected health information (ePHI) or sharing ePHI with third-parties? This article assesses whether iCloud is a HIPAA compliant cloud service. Cloud storage services are a convenient way of...

The Most Common HIPAA Violations You Should Be Aware Of

The most common HIPAA violations that have resulted in financial penalties are the failure to perform an organization-wide risk analysis to identify risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI); the failure to enter into a HIPAA-compliant business...

OCR Encourages Healthcare Organizations to Conduct a Gap Analysis

In its April 2018 cybersecurity newsletter, OCR draws attention to the benefits of performing a gap analysis in addition to a risk analysis. The latter is required to identify risks and vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited to gain access to ePHI, while a gap analysis helps healthcare...

HHS Increases Civil Monetary Penalties for HIPAA Violations in Line with Inflation

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has increased the civil monetary penalties for HIPAA violations in accordance with the Inflation Adjustment Act. The final rule took effect on Tuesday November 5, 2019. This rule increases the civil monetary penalties for HIPAA violations that...

Roger Severino Gives Update on OCR HIPAA Enforcement Priorities

Roger Severino, Director of the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, has given an update on OCR’s HIPAA enforcement priorities at the OCR/NIST 11th Annual HIPAA Conference in Washington D.C. Severino confirmed that one of OCR’s top policy initiatives is still enforcing the rights of patients under...

Sen. Rand Paul Introduces National Patient Identifier Repeal Act

Sen. Rand Paul, M.D., (R-Kentucky) has introduced a new bill that attempts to have the national patient identifier provision of HIPAA permanently removed due to privacy concerns over the implementation of such a system. Today, HIPAA is best known for its healthcare data privacy and security...