Healthcare is a Target: The Largest Healthcare Breaches of 2014


The following are the 5 biggest breaches of health data for 2014, in total affecting 7.4 million people.

  1. The hacking of Community Health System affected 4.5 million individuals. A group believed to have originated in China used malware and technology to attack the hospital chain’s system.
  2. A breach affecting 2 million people occurred when Texas Health and Human Services Commission ended its contract with Xerox. Allegedly, the vendor failed to return state computer equipment and paper records, containing Medicaid and health information.
  3. On Feb. 5th, 8 unencrypted computers were stolen from an office of Sutherland Healthcare Services (Los Angeles County’s vendor) affecting more than 342,000 people.
  4. Touchstone Medical Imaging had left a folder containing patient billing inadvertently accessible to the Internet, affecting more than 307,000 patients.
  5. Indian Health Services, an HHS agency, had a breach that affected 214,000 individuals, due to unauthorized access to a laptop.

The number of attacks on personal health records is expected to increase over the next few years because they are easy targets for identity theft, stolen prescriptions and insurance frauds. Michael Bruemmer, vice president of Experian Data Breach Resolutions, claims that 80% of breaches in the healthcare system is due to employee negligence. HIPAA covered entities need to increase their security risk management programs.

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