Sep 05, 2013 Dave King
Data breaches have been in the news almost constantly throughout the past several years, with major financial institutions, enterprises and public sector organizations falling victim to hackers and subsequent lost information. Businesses need to ensure that all ACH cards and wire transfer accounts are properly overseen and secured to avoid the massive financial losses that often come after a breach.
Hackers have increasingly targeted automated payments and other financial transfers, as too many companies are not keeping a close eye on these accounts. Enterprises, as well as financial services and healthcare providers, can take a variety of steps to better sustain secure accounts payable and receivable activities, which will also help avoid the damaged reputations stemming from thwarted privacy protection.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported that the federal government, along with the Illinois Attorney General's Office, has launched an investigation of Advocate Health Care, which fell victim to one of the largest medical data breaches in history. In accordance with the mandatory notification rule that went into effect September 2009, the healthcare provider reported the incident to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Now, the source explained that the investigators believe roughly 4 million patients might have been affected by the breach, which took place earlier this summer. The breach led to the loss and exposure of information related to patients who have visited the facility over the last 23 years, which is one of the reasons why the figure is so high.
According to the news provider, the computers in question were not encrypted, and the main password protections did not prevent the loss. Dates of birth, Social Security numbers, names and addresses are among the types of information that were lost, all of which could lead to identity theft and other issues for the victims.
The Chicago Tribune added that the regulators involved in such investigations have levied more than $18 million in fines since 2009.
Protect your back
Regardless of which sector an organization operates within, all types of personal information, as well as bank account data, needs to be safeguarded through security software, employee training and proper disposal policies. Companies that use or distribute ACH cards should be especially cautious and ensure that oversight protocols are aligned with industry-recognized best practices and federal regulations.
Firms should not wait for a breach to occur, as reactionary measures are often fruitless, whereas proactive approaches will minimize risks.