We’ve all heard of the dark Web. Parallel to the Internet we all know and love, the dark Web operates much like the black market – it’s almost impossible to trace its participants, making it a breeding ground for criminal activity and underground sales.
But what exactly is the dark Web? The dark Web is a part of the Internet that is not indexed by search engines. Users must download a special browser to access this encrypted, peer-to-peer and anonymous Web where personal data is sold to the highest bidder.
The sale of stolen medical data in the dark web has been widely reported in the last few years. Why is medical data so valuable? And how can you protect your medical records from falling into the hands of international hackers?
Why Medical Data Is So Valuable In The Dark Web
The short answer is simple. One of the primary ways of accessing additional information required to steal an identity is by securing an individual’s medical and health records. In addition to a person’s medical history, these records contain a lot of sensitive information such as an individual’s full social security number, their date of birth and their parents’ names and dates of birth. It also contains a lot of information that can usually be used to answer security questions or apply for other identity documents, such as birth certificates. Stolen medical records are used for many types of identity theft, such as health-care fraud, filing fraudulent tax returns and opening new lines of credit.
Back in 2015, the massive hack of 10 million complete electronic medical records from companies such as Anthem, Premera Blue Cross and Excellus Health Plan served to jump-start the medical record market on the dark web. In 2016, complete medical records (known as “fullz” among dark web traders) were sold for around $100 each, all paid for with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In the last few years, the price of a “fullz” electronic medical record has dropped significantly.
According to CNBC, “while a Social Security number can be purchased on the dark Web for around $15, medical records fetch at least $60 per record because of that additional information, such as addresses, phone numbers and employment history.”
While there have been numerous additional hacks in the last few years, few people have kept abreast of this growing trend. It is estimated that the rate of medical record theft has increased by ten or twenty times over the last several years.
How To Protect Your Medical Data
Protecting your medical data from being sold on the dark Web is as simple as not giving your social security number to your medical providers. In most cases, health-care providers do not need your social security number to care for you. You are not legally obliged to give them that information.
If a doctor insists on having your social security number, request a changeable pin instead to authenticate yourself.
On the organizational side, protecting your clients’ health data should be a fundamental goal. One of the key elements to securing your data against any type of hacker is to maintain your database in good shape. Request a free database analysis today to check the health of your database and ensure that your data is secure.
Contact Soaring Eagle Consulting for Consultation
Fill out a form or give us a call and we will do a free 30-minute database evaluation to identify the root causes of your issues and decide the best way to resolve your problems.
If you see value in the review exercise, start planning to do the cleanup. If possible, schedule it during a slow business season.
There are software and service providers who will do this investigation for you if you don’t have the staff to manage it. You may want to contract out the service.
Contact us today to help clean up your data.