At least tens of thousands, if not millions of medical records of New York patients were until recently readily accessible online to just about anyone who knew how to look.
Patient demographic information, social security numbers, records of medical diagnoses and treatments, along with a plethora of other highly-sensitive records were left completely undefended by a medical IT company based in Louisville, Kentucky. The files, which belong to at least tens of thousands of patients, originate from Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York.
In a statement provided to Gizmodo—and published by NBC News Wednesday night—Bronx Lebanon said that a server containing its patients’ data had been the “target of an unauthorized hack by a third party,” attributing that assessment to the hospital’s vendor, iHealth Solutions. The hospital added that iHealth had taken immediate steps to protect the data, and that both parties were “cooperating fully with law enforcement agents.” iHealth Solutions did not respond to request for comment.
However, according to Kromtech Security Center, a German security software development firm, the leak was not the result of a malicious hacker infiltrating the Bronx Lebanon server. Instead, the firm’s analysis showed that the data was left unprotected on a backup storage device, without a password, accessible to anyone online. It also appears likely that the data was not protected by an active firewall, exposing an untold number of patients to crimes such identity theft and blackmail.
In March, Kromtech reported that more than 400,000 audio recordings of telemarketing calls had been exposed online, including many in which customers provided sensitive information, such as credit card details. A month before, the researchers helped secure the personal data of nearly 25,000 California sheet metal workers. Before that, it was a Missouri sheriff’s office, which had inadvertently leaked audio recordings of police informants of victims involved in crimes as serious as child molestation.
Secure rsync, people!