Breach, Threat Management, Data Security, Network Security

Computer with patient data stolen from NYC hosptial

A desktop computer storing personal health information was stolen from NYU Langone Medical Center.

How many victims? About 8,400 patients.

What type of personal information? Patient records, including names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, and insurance and clinical information related to visits to three doctors at the facility were put at risk. About 5,000 lost records contained Social Security numbers.

What happened? A desktop computer storing personal health information was discovered stolen from the Faculty Group Practice office of John Golfinos, the chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery.

What was the response? The disappearance was reported to hospital security and the New York City Police Department and, as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, will be reported to the federal Office of Civil Rights. The center is offering identity theft protection to those patients whose Social Security numbers are potentially exposed, and a phone line has been set up to assist affected patients.

Details: Officials said the computer was password protected, with additional software needed to retrieve any data files, though it was not encrypted. Security cameras captured images of the individual suspected in the theft and was passed along to police, though the culprit has not yet been identified and the computer has not been recovered. 

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center, "NYU Langone Medical Center Notifies Patients of Potential Data Breach," July 23, 2012.

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