Why Do Hackers Want Medical Records?

A stolen credit card record can be sold for as low as a quarter while a medical record can be sold for $50. Why is that? When a credit card is stolen, the owner is able to cancel it as soon as he/she notices fraudulent activity and then they are also able to dispute the charges. But think about a medical record – changing your Social Security number, birth date, home address and medical history isn’t that simple, even impossible.

The problem becomes much bigger than just financial identity theft. Think about what would happen to a person whose medical record is stolen and being used to obtain free healthcare and subscriptions. Then think about the customer going in for an emergency with the wrong records on file and getting the wrong blood transfusion.

Protecting patients’ medical records should be every hospital’s and physician’s office’s concern. But with many issues in the healthcare industry vying for attention, security may fall through the cracks.

Keystroke logger malware was recently discovered on Muhlenberg Community Hospital computers in Kentucky—but it could have gone undetected for nearly four years. Potentially compromised data includes patient names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license/state identification numbers, health plan information, financial account numbers, payment card information and employment information.

Though there’s currently no evidence the information has been used maliciously, it’s just another reminder that medical information is an intriguing target for hackers. Netsurion, a provider of remotely-managed data and network security services for multi-location business, just released this infographic on the value of a medical record. It’s insightful.

Continue Reading