Did you know your social security number is worth about 10 cents on the dark web? Your credit card numbers will only bring in 25 cents. Although no one wants their social security number or credit card numbers stolen, you have something worth far more that needs protecting. Your electronic medical records are not something you typically think about being sold on the dark web, but they are worth up to $1000!
Why Medical Records?
Your medical records contain a wealth of exploitable information which attracts hackers. Your name, a list of your past residence history, information on your family – including names and ages, payment history, along with your financial information like credit cards and bank numbers. If that isn’t scary enough, there’s also data about your past medical history, including every doctor’s visit you’ve made and diagnosis you’ve received. It is the most comprehensive record about the identity of a person that exists today.
Another reason medical records are so popular to hackers is that they cannot be changed like a credit card number or even a social security number. If there is a breach, hackers can potentially blackmail you for a lifetime. If your medical record contains sensitive protected health information, such as cancer diagnoses, sexually transmitted diseases, or psychological conditions, you could be subject to public embarrassment or political assassination.
How to Protect Medical Records
Encryption is one way medical records can be kept safe. This involves scrambling the data and putting an encryption key or lock on the data. If the data is taken, it cannot be read without the key. De-identification is another way to keep medical records safe. This is the process used to prevent a person’s identity from being connected with information. De-identified patient data is health information from a medical record that has been stripped of all “direct identifiers”—that is, all information that can be used to identify the patient from whose medical record the health information was derived.
Read more about this topic here or listen to our Bottom Line IT segment where Erik and Amy discuss this.
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