Friday, September 18, 2009

Spyware causes HIPAA violation at Ohio Hospital

Man emails spyware to ex girlfriend's Yahoo account. What could go wrong?

The woman happens to work at a hospital. She opened it at a work computer, and the spyware happily emailed out billing and healthcare information for 65 patients. As other people used that computer, it also emailed out their email and financial information (presumably they looked at their online accounts from there)

CIO Magazine reports:
He allegedly sent the spyware to the woman's Yahoo e-mail address, hoping that it would give him a way to monitor what she was doing on her PC. But instead, she opened the spyware on a computer in the hospital's pediatric cardiac surgery department, creating a regulatory nightmare for the hospital.

The complaint does not explain how Graham managed to convince the woman to install the program, but clever attackers often trick their victims into clicking on files by saying that they are interesting videos or some kind of useful software.

Between March 19 and March 28 the spyware sent more than 1,000 screen captures to Graham via e-mail.
 The hospital is also to blame. It is unclear if they provided any training to employees about not opening attachments from emails, but it is absolutely clear that they were not blocking 3rd party email access from work.

The article is also unclear about if the girlfriend is still employed at work or not.


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