Data breaches in healthcare are not exactly a new problem, so one would have thought that data handling and network security practices would have changed by now, to ensure better success in keeping the data secure.
The Wall of Shame
The chart below shows cumulative number of all data breach incidents since 2009, healthcare providers being the most affected.
When looking at the number of affected individuals, breach of health plan networks have the most devastating consequences.
Considering the U.S. population is currently ~324 million, over 150 million breached healthcare records suggest very high probability your medical records have been compromised already or will be in the near future.
The most common scenarios leading to data breach were theft and unauthorized disclosure, followed by hacking.
Hacking incidents, however, were the most damaging type of incident when it comes to number of affected individuals.
The number of incidents remains relatively steady between 200 and 300 a year.
In 2015, hacking of Anthem and Blue Cross contributed to the total number of 113 million compromised medical records.
Many of these incidents were linked to Chinese hackers. Combined with other significant instances of compromised data, from intellectual property to 4 million stolen records of the Office of Personnel Management, the cumulative damage is hard to overestimate.
How many people know that China is the most important global center for sequencing human genome?
China’s bid to be a DNA superpower (Nature, 2016)
How and for what purpose these medical records will really be used?