Physician Practice

Most data breaches now the result of hacks

Physician Practice Insider, June 14, 2016

In past years, most healthcare data breaches were the result of misplaced laptops or random burglaries in which thieves stole computers with no idea that patient files were on the hard drive. But the nature of data breaches is changing.

According to several recent studies on healthcare data security, the majority of healthcare data breaches in 2015 were the result of hackers stealing files from servers. And that trend is forcing physician practices to do more than simply encrypt patient records and other data to comply with regulations under HIPAA.

The number of healthcare data breaches that involved hacking nearly doubled in 2015 as hackers increasingly went after what security experts say are soft targets in the healthcare industry compared to those in retail, finance, and other industries time-hardened by hackers, according to security firm Bitglass.

“The 80% increase in data breach hacks in 2015 makes it clear that hackers are targeting healthcare,” says Nat Kausik, CEO of research firm Bitglass, adding that “healthcare organizations must embrace innovative strategies to meet security and compliance requirements.”

The report estimates 56 healthcare data breaches stemmed from hacks in 2015, an increase from 31 hacks in 2014. Conversely, the number of data breaches due to theft or loss last year was 97 compared to 140 in 2014.

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the June 2016 issue.

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