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Data breach roundup: Missing hardware

September 10th, 2011 by Agent Smith (0) Data Theft & Loss,security breach

As data storage devices get smaller and easier to carry, the chance of them being stolen or lost goes higher. Thumb drives, laptops, computers, everything shrinks, while storage capacity grows exponentially, great for productivity, awful for unencrypted data. While laptops and USB sticks have always been the easiest to steal or lose, it does not mean that the old fashioned desktop computers cannot share in the same fate.

The result of the following incidents? Exposed data affecting hundreds or thousands, making them perfect targets for identity theft or fraud. Another thing they have in common? You guessed it, they are all part of the healthcare industry! Most of these data breaches can be prevented and it’s a rather simple process. But let’s move on to our list of incidents!

The London Ambulance Service ended up losing the data of close to 3000 patients when a personal laptop storing their names, addresses, dates of birth, NHS numbers and accessibility requirements for transportation was stolen from the house of a staff member.

In the very same, frequently breached field we love to call healthcare, the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust had a data breach incident. A student lost a thumb drive containing the details of some 90 patients, including name, age, occupation and surgical details.

Treatment Services Northwest had their own security breach to deal with. A computer that belonged to them and ended up stolen exposed the protected health information of 1,200 patients.

The last on today’s list is Indiana University School of Medicine. A researcher’s car was broken into, their laptop was stolen, resulting in a data breach involving 3,192 patients’ records, with details including name, gender, age, diagnosis, and some social security numbers.

A piece of advice to the healthcare industry worldwide: start taking better care of the data entrusted to you.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Photo by Peter Beug

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