Private well being data susceptible: B.C. privateness commissioner

Private well being data susceptible: B.C. privateness commissioner

Health Information Technology

Michael McEvoy says that safety gaps within the public well being pc system put it prone to abuse by dangerous actors, from cyber criminals to jilted lovers on the lookout for details about an ex.

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VICTORIA — Delicate private well being data of B.C. residents, from psychological well being to sexually transmitted illness histories, are “disturbingly” susceptible to leaks, the provincial privateness watchdog says.

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Data and privateness commissioner Michael McEvoy says in a report launched by his workplace Thursday that safety gaps within the public well being pc system put it prone to abuse by dangerous actors, from cyber criminals to jilted lovers on the lookout for details about an ex.

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“Each British Columbian must be troubled by these findings, as a result of it means private data within the system is susceptible to misuse and assault,” McEvoy says in an introduction to the report, titled “Left untreated: Safety gaps in B.C.’s public well being database.” Gathering and storing private data is significant to the supply of well being care and managing threats like communicable illness outbreaks, the report says.

Nonetheless, it says the system’s “entry gate” is weak and the trade normal of multi-factor authentication for entry isn’t universally required.

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There’s additionally no proactive audit program that may alert authorities to people making an attempt to make use of the system for nefarious functions. As a substitute, threats are solely addressed after a breach or safety challenge happens, it says.

McEvoy says it’s “troubling” that the Provincial Well being Companies Authority, which is chargeable for managing the system, has identified concerning the dangers since at the least 2019 and made little progress to deal with them.

PHSA president David Byres says in an announcement that the well being authority takes privateness critically and can proceed taking steps to make sure delicate data is safe and guarded. Nonetheless, the PHSA already upgrades its safety programs commonly and assessments have persistently indicated that affected person knowledge is sufficiently protected, he says.

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The authority additionally has a consumer entry auditing system in place and is working to reinforce these processes. It has a devoted cybersecurity staff that actively works to reduce threats, he provides.

“We thank the Workplace of the Data and Privateness Commissioner for this report. We decide to fastidiously reviewing the findings and persevering with to make sure our databases are secure and safe for everybody we serve.”

The report makes seven suggestions to deal with the system’s privateness and safety dangers, together with encrypting private data. Technical options exist, however they are going to value cash, McEvoy says.

Whereas it could not seem to be a prime precedence when weighed in opposition to the worth of including extra hospital beds and medical doctors or shortening surgical procedure ready occasions, he says the results of not doing so could possibly be “catastrophic.”

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McEvoy factors to a cyberattack final 12 months that knocked out data know-how programs in Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest well being authority, forcing officers to cancel 1000’s of appointments, together with most cancers care. Jap Well being stated final week that greater than 58,000 folks had their non-public knowledge uncovered by hackers within the breach.

“These impacts are critical, and we have to deal with them critically,” McEvoy says.

 Learn the complete report right here.

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