By Jaikumar Vijayan
May 17, 2010
Nearly eight months after new rules were enacted requiring stronger
protection of health care information, organizations are still leaking
such data on file-sharing networks, a study by Dartmouth College's Tuck
School of Business has found.
In a research paper to be presented at an IEEE security symposium
Tuesday, a Dartmouth College professor Eric Johnson will describe how
university researchers discovered thousands of documents containing
sensitive patient information on popular peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.
One of the more than 3,000 files discovered by the researchers was a
spreadsheet containing insurance details, personally identifying
information, physician names and diagnosis codes on more than 28,000
individuals. Another document contained similar data on more than 7,000
individuals. Many of the documents contained sensitive patient
communications, treatment data, medical diagnoses and psychiatric
evaluations. At least five files contained enough information to be
classified as a major breach under current health-care breach
While some of the documents appear to have been leaked before the Obama
administration's Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical
Health (HITECH) Act was enacted, many appear to be fairly recent. A
previous study by Dartmouth in 2008 also unearthed files containing
health-care data floating on P2P networks, such as Limewire, eDonkey and
BearShare. Among the documents found in that study was one containing
350MB of patient data for a group of anesthesiologists and another on
patients at an AIDS clinic in Chicago.
Best Selling Security Books and More!
Shop InfoSec News