Data security breaches are impacting long-standing and start-up corporations, as well as public and private entities. No one is immune from these threats and understanding the prevalence is the first step in best preventing this from impacting your organization. Aleks Ostojic Rushing provides the background on phishing expeditions, ways to identify phishing attacks and what you can do to protect yourself in a post on Husch Blackwell’s Technology, Manufacturing and Transportation Industry blog.

If you have further questions, members of our Data Privacy, Security & Breach Response team can address them.

Computer virus infection skull of death flat illustration for websitesYou recently engaged a contract HR recruiter to work onsite helping with increased hiring. The contractor is reviewing hundreds of job applications for several new job postings. Not surprisingly, many of the job applications have a PDF resume attached. The contract recruiter clicks on one of the attached resumes and enables the associated macro to run. Suddenly, the recruiter gets a screen notifying him that unless a ransom is paid, the victim will not be able to access their files. Not the best way to start off the week for HR, IT, or security employees. Continue Reading HR Bewar(y): Job applications and resumes could have ransomware attached

John WayneAll encryption tools are not created equal. Just ask the folks at Microsoft, who have recently demonstrated that encrypted Electronic Medical Record databases can leak information. Turns out that CryptDB, a SQL database add-on developed at MIT that allows searching of encrypted data, allows search queries to be combined with information in the public domain to hack the database. More on this in a minute. In the meantime, let’s consider the assumption that encryption is inviolate/ infrangible/ impervious to hacks. As I mentioned in an earlier post, encryption algorithms are too complex for most laypersons to understand, but we should at least wrap our heads around the concept that encryption is not a “set it and forget it” technology, nor is it foolproof. Continue Reading Why encryption is less secure than you think

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

My New Year’s resolutions will likely be broken early and often in 2016. My consequences are mostly non-monetary: a few more pounds, a little less savings, and not winning the triathlon in my age group. Your consequences, as a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate, for not complying with the Privacy and Security Rules could be much greater, and could put you into serious debt to the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Therefore, we propose that you resolve now to become fully HIPAA compliant in 2016.

OCR delivered an early holiday gift, wrapped in the Director’s Sept. 23, 2015, report to the Office of Inspector General. In that report, she disclosed that OCR will launch Phase 2 of its HIPAA audit program in early 2016, focusing on noncompliance issues for both covered entities and business associates.

So, grab that cup of hot cocoa and peruse this review of 2014-2015 HIPAA enforcement actions, which should help identify noncompliance issues on which OCR will focus in 2016.  Continue Reading HIPAA compliance: another year older, but hopefully not deeper in debt

arrow-bullseyeiStock_000043470790_FullThe Target data breach disrupted the 2013 holiday shopping season, shook the retail industry, and shocked many who assumed that a nationwide retailer would have the security controls in place to prevent such an attack. The breach exposed credit card data of 40 million individuals and personal data of approximately 70 million consumers. A quarter billion dollars and a slew of lawsuits later, lessons have emerged and questions remain. Continue Reading Taking stock of the Target data breach