By Nicole Lewis
March 18, 2010
Many home computer users don't realize it, but the next time they
download a movie, a video or some old sentimental song, they may be
giving an intruder the opportunity to search the PC's files for
sensitive information, including their health records, a new study
What kind of sensitive information? Well, according to Khaled El Emam,
Canada research chair at the University of Ottawa, and the lead on a
research paper on the inadvertent disclosure of personal information
through peer-to-peer file sharing programs, the information found was
"very personal and very rich in detail."
By using simple search terms like "patient file", "medical form", or
"medical", researchers retrieved medical authorization forms,
confidential corporate information, and private letters.
"For example, we found a letter that a mother wrote to her 16-year-old
daughter's camp director giving him all the complete details of her
daughters medical history, health conditions, health insurance card
numbers, and her medications," El Emam said.
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