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Hacking Finally Tops Healthcare Breach Causes

Hacking Finally Tops Healthcare Breach Causes

One would think that most data breaches were caused by hacking as those are the breaches that are always mentioned in the news. However, up until the end of 2019, Theft was still the top cause of breaches in healthcare according to data compiled from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights.

Utilizing the Healthcare Breach Executive Dashboard at https://www.healthcarebreaches.com, we could see the breach trends changing. While breaches due to Theft were increasing at a slow pace, Hacking/IT Incident breaches were steadily climbing at a rapid pace. It was only a matter of time before Hacking topped the charts.

Why is the rate of breaches due to theft slowing down? One possible explanation is encryption. Most breaches due to Theft occur from stolen laptops, USB Drives, desktops, etc. that contain Protected Health Information (PHI). Thefts still frequently, however, organizations are getting better at encrypting drives. If a stolen drive is encrypted, it is not reported as a breach.

Even though Hacking only recently past Theft as the top source of healthcare breaches, there has been no competition for the source of the number of records lost. Hacking has far surpassed all other breach categories for the top cause of patient records compromised.

If breaches from Theft could be slowed down, perhaps Hacking can as well. Organizations must do all they can do increase security posture and reduce risk. Continue checking HealthcareBreaches.com for more trend updates.


Jon Sternstein

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