On Thursday, September 4, huffingtonpost.com reported how a hacker successfully broke into HealthCare.gov and installed malicious software on one of its servers.
The security of HealthCare.gov is a sensitive issue and risk assessments are being taken to address the vulnerabilities and increase security. These recent high-profile data breaches are leading healthcare industries to modify their approach with new security software and processes.
"Data was not transmitted outside the agency, and the website was not specifically targeted," said Kevin Griffis, a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services. "We have taken measures to further strengthen security."
Steps to prevent security hacks:
Risk Assessment: Remind employees to be watchful of electronic devices and/or paper records left unattended. More often than not data breaches occur due to theft of these items from a home, office or vehicle. While it is IT’s job to safeguard patient information, employees should be reminded to do their part in keeping data safe as well.
Sub-networks: Ensure that networks made available for public use do not expose private patient information. One way of achieving this is to create sub-networks dedicated to guest activity and separate more secure networks for medical devices and applications that transmit and carry sensitive patient data.
Identity: With so many members of the healthcare system frequently accessing patient information, it is important to carefully manage identity of users. For instance, make sure users at each level are only granted access to information pertinent to their position and that log on/off procedures are easy on shared machines. Automation of this system helps create a “paper trail” and ensures efficiency and safety for all involved.
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