I received a physician’s newsletter recently and when I read it, I wanted to shout “I told you so!”. But of course, I’m trying to be a good person so I didn’t. However, my family, friends, and our patients know that I am totally against putting our medical records on line.
Did you know that on the black market your medical records are worth ten times more that your credit card number? How crazy is that? But it’s the truth. The FBI has warned healthcare providers that medical cyber attacks are now one of the largest cyber attacks in the United States.
Security experts state that cyber hackers are increasingly targeting the three trillion dollar United States healthcare industry.
Dave Kenned is known as an expert on healthcare security. He is CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. He stated, “Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud.”
The FBI is warning the healthcare providers but I am not hearing where the healthcare providers are warning the public or their patients.
What are the hackers doing with the medical records? Making money! The stolen data for sale includes names, birth dates, insurance policy numbers, diagnosis codes, and of course, billing information. They know more about you in your records than most of us know about ourselves. The hackers use the data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs and resale to make a nice living. They also can combine a patient’s number with a false provider insurance number and file made-up claims. This makes the hackers money but can put you on the “black list”.
Hackers can get away with your information for a long time because medical identity theft is often not immediately identified by the patient or their insurance provider. This can give the criminals years to use your identity.
Don Jackson is director of Threat Intelligence at PhishLabs which is a cyber crime protection company. PhishLabs has obtained data by monitoring underground exchanges where hackers sell the information to others. He stated, “ Stolen credentials can go for $10 each which is about 10 or 20 times the value of your credit card number.”
My advice, keep your credit card number safe and your medical records off the internet. Tell your doctor and the hospitals you will not allow it but you will take a copy of the records home with you.
-Dr Fredda Branyon