MEDantex, a healthcare transcription service based in Wichita, Kansas, shut down its customer portal when it learned sensitive medical records for thousands of doctors were exposed online. The firm provides medical transcription for private physicians, hospitals, and clinics including New York University Medical Center and San Francisco Multi-Specialty Medical Group.
Physicians can upload audio notes about their patients to a MEDantex Web portal, which is supposed to be password-protected but was found by KrebsOnSecurity to be open to the public Internet. Several online tools for MEDantex employees were also exposed, including pages where anyone could add or delete users, or search for patient records by patient name or physician name, without submitting any type of authentication.
One of the primary directories exposed included more than 2,300 physicians. Each directory included varying numbers of patient records, and was displayed and available for download as Microsoft Word docs or raw audio files, the report explains. While it’s unclear how long the data was accessible, a Google cache shows it was open on April 10, 2018.
Sreeram Pydah, founder and chief executive of MEDantex, confirmed the company recently had to rebuild its online servers after being hit with a form of ransomware called WhiteRose. The error leading to the exposure of patient records is seemingly part of the rebuild. Pydah says the company planned to take the site offline to figure out how the mistake occurred.
The latest Verizon DBIR report shows nearly a quarter of all breaches in 2017 affected healthcare organizations. It’s the only industry where insiders cause more damage than outsiders: insiders were responsible for 56% of healthcare breaches last year.
Fred Kneip, CEO at CyberGRX, says we’ve reached the point where patients who trust healthcare organizations with their health may not be able to trust them with their personal data.
“Healthcare providers need to understand that their third parties’ security controls are constantly vulnerable to exploits, and that their reputation is on the line when a breach at one of those third parties puts their patient data at risk,” he says.
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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial … View Full Bio