The Devil Is In The Details: Insider Threats In Healthcare Industry

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It’s a myth when you believe that the financial or banking sector is highly prone to data breaches. When we examine the risks of malicious threats, healthcare organizations top the list. 

Breaches get observed in the healthcare sector due to a host of incidents. Credential-stealing malware is one type where an insider deliberately or accidentally discloses a patient’s sensitive data and targets to sell it. 

The most sensitive data in healthcare organizations

When we speak about data breaches, have you ever thought about what kind of data gets stolen in a healthcare company? When an individual associates with a healthcare organization, he/she provides his/her Personal Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII), per the HIPAA policy. 

PHI and the risk associated with it

Healthcare Data Breach Statistics - HIPAA Journal

Protected Health Information is high-quality information related to health status or health care payment. In other words, PHI includes medical payment history or records of a patient. What happens when such information gets leaked? PHI is more valuable than credit-card details or regular identification details in a black market. In this way, cybercriminals aim to target such a database in a healthcare department for personal gains.  

The PHI includes:

  • Name of a patient
  • Date of birth, discharge date, date of death, and administration date
  • Fax and contact numbers
  • Email and home addresses (including district names and postal codes)
  • Medical records, health plans, certificate, social security information, and account numbers
  • Vehicle, biometric, voice, and fingerprints
  • Photographs and the full face ID

Some shocking numbers of data breaches in healthcare

Protenus, along with, identified more than 572 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records in 2019, up 48.6% compared to 2018. The year’s most massive data breach affected a HIPAA-covered entity business associate, a debt recovery agency. That single breach saw the records of more than 20 million patients leaked over several months. Hackers hacked their systems in September 2018 and continued to access those systems until March 2019.

Data breaches in 2020 are significant eye-openers:


Oregon’s largest Medicaid coordinated care organization notified 654,000 patients due to device theft (Laptop) from its vendor GridWorks. The stolen device had patient names, contact details, dates of birth, and Medicaid ID numbers.


A ransomware attack on the Florida Orthopaedic Institute (FOI) breached the data of about 640,000 patients, as reported to Health and Human Services in July 2020. 

Keeping a check on insider threats: RemoteDesk and Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry (also called the medical industry or health economy) is an aggregation and integration of sectors within the economic system that provides goods and services to treat patients with curative, preventive, rehabilitative, and palliative care

A malicious insider is a current or former employee, contractor, or a third-party vendor, who has authorized access to an organization’s network. Their main aim is to target such systems to tarnish an organization’s reputation or indulge in financial fraud. 

How RemoteDesk manages data breaches in a remote work scenario

How to Manage a Healthcare Data Breach - RemoteDesk

Remotedesk’s real-time monitoring of remote workforce helps leverage data protection and security of PII at all costs. Its facial and desktop recognition feature allows finding loopholes such as suspicious activity, imposter violation, or desktop screen capture. As a result, healthcare industries rest assured with their data’s safety in a remote working environment

Healthcare companies found their way!

Once RemoteDesk got implemented, healthcare companies quickly identified agents breaching compliance policies. After the first two weeks, the administration notified all remote workers of proper clean desk protocol, which resulted in a drop in the number of data breaches from 4.7 incidents/day to .23 incidents/day.

RemoteDesk delivers employee productivity, compliance enforcement, while providing clear transparency, accountability & risk management.