Health Information Management

Security breach exposes 1,000 SSNs

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 23, 2009

An electronic security breach led to the potential exposure of 1,000 Social Security numbers of employees at Penn State University’s administrative unit that manages the institution’s physical assets, The Daily Collegian reported March 17.

Officials at the unit – The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) – said a virus was downloaded to an OPP administrative computer on Feb. 20, and Social Security numbers potentially exposed. The University notified the affected employees via e-mails and paper letters, The Collegian reported.

Security breaches are a major concern for hospitals and HIPAA covered entities, especially in light of stricter enforcement by the federal government in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"It's possible that an e-mail came through and had an infected attachment. We don't really know; we can always speculate," Paul Ruskin, OPP communications coordinator, told The Collegian.

Read the full story in The Daily Collegian.

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