The ongoing effort to enable the secure exchange of health information from coast to coast recently got a very important boost when five well-known healthcare organizations joined forces to serve as trailblazers.
State agencies transferred information containing unencrypted, personal information to unsecured servers between January and May 2010, but the exposure was not discovered until two weeks ago, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says.
It's serious news that RSA's SecurID solution has been the target of an advanced persistent threat. But "It's not a game-changer," says Stephen Northcutt, CEO of SANS Institute. "Anybody who says it is [a game-changer] is an alarmist."
The federal government's official tally of major health information breaches now confirms the recent Health Net incident affected 1.9 million individuals, making it the largest breach on the list. Meanwhile, at least four state agencies are now investigating the incident.
When it comes to e-marketing and the reliance on third parties such as Epsilon, Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University says banks and merchants should "come clean" about the information they share with outside entities.
Communicating with customers about the incident and warning them not to click links in phishing e-mails are all these impacted institutions and companies really can do, says Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer of WhiteHat Security.
Privacy Attorney Lisa Sotto says the Epsilon e-mail breach is a warning about the state of data security employed by some third-party service providers. Strong contracts related to security practices must be the norm, not the exception.