Category Archives: News

Data Breach at Renown Health at South Meadows in Reno, NV

The following is a posting on the Renown.org website:

Notice to Our Patients of a Missing Thumb Drive

Renown Health is committed to protecting the confidentiality and security of our patients’ information. Regrettably, this notice is about an incident that involves some of that information.

On June 30, 2019, an employee reported that a thumb drive containing patient information went missing that same day. We immediately began an investigation, interviewed the employee, and conducted a thorough search for the thumb drive, but were unable to locate the thumb drive. Our investigation determined that some patient information was contained on the thumb drive, which may have included patient names, medical record numbers, diagnoses, clinical information, dates of admission, and physician’s names. Patient Social Security numbers and financial information were not contained on the thumb drive.

This incident does not affect all Renown patients; only those patients that received inpatient services at Renown South Meadows Medical Center between January 1, 2012 and June 14, 2019.

We have no indication that your information was misused. However, in an abundance of caution, we mailed letters to affected patients on August 9, 2019 and established a dedicated call center to answer questions. If you believe you have been affected and do (more…)

A Brief History of Paper Shredding, Part Two

The first paper shredder is credited to Abbot Augustus Low, a prolific inventor with the patent being filed on February 2, 1909… but his invention was never manufactured

Adolf Ehringer’s paper shredder (which was based on a hand crank pasta maker), was manufactured in Germany in 1935. The story is that he needed to shred his anti-Nazi propaganda to avoid the authorities questions. He later marketed his shredders to government agencies and financial institutions, changing from a hand crank to an electric motor. His company (EBA Maschinenfabrik) manufactured the first cross-cut shredders in 1959, and they continue to do so to this day as EBA Krug & Priester GmbH & Co. in Balingen.

Until the mid-eighties, it was rare for paper shredders to be used by non-government entities. One very high profile example of their use was when the U.S. embassy in Iran shredded documents before the embassy was taken over in ’79 (Google the “Iran hostage crisis” kids).

After Colonel Oliver North told Congress that he used a Schleicher cross-cut model to shred Iran-Contra documents, Schleicher sales boosted by almost 20 percent in 1987.

Paper shredders became more popular in the U.S. due to privacy concerns after the 1988 Supreme Court decided that the (more…)

A Brief History of Paper Shredding, Part One

In today’s society, we have become so accustomed to the digitization of data, that sometimes we may forget how much information remains in physical format. Documents stored on a computer may still be printed as a hard copy, and there are also phone messages quick notes and other items, that can all combine to provide an opportunity for the theft of information. Companies that are targeted for economic espionage are particularly vulnerable, as well as their clients and customers, either due to carelessness on their part of that of businesses charged with gathering sensitive information. That is one reason companies, and individuals, have been turning to document destruction, a process long utilized be government agencies. Document Destruction is usually achieved with shredders in an industrial facility dedicated to that purpose.

Stories of document destruction, or paper shredding if you will, have appeared regularly in the media. In 2002, the Enron scandal exploded and it was revealed that Arthur Anderson LLP, the accounting firm that assisted Enron in falsifying their record of earnings, had shredded tons of documents.

Most businesses use paper shredding for much more legitimate reasons, such as protection against economic espionage. But companies are not the only ones that need to (more…)

Another Day, Another Data Breach

It seems every day there is a data breach being reported.  The latest one being a collection company for two of the top medicals labs, 19.6 MILLION clients affected.

In this breach they didn’t get your medical records, just your name, social security number and other pertinent information.   That’s all.  Do you really think the hackers care what medication you are on?

So now your information has been stolen, what is next?

Here are some easy steps to help mitigate potential damage:

  1. If you know which card is effected call that company right away.  Ask them to a new account new and a new card.  Change any passwords associated with that card.  If you use a common password for your cards you will need to change them as well.
  2. Call one of the three credit bureaus and have a free one-year fraud alert placed on your account.  Which ever company you call must let the other two know about the fraud alert.
  3. Get a free copy of your credit report by going to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
  4. And lastly, go to the FTC website and report your theft.  You will need to fill out the online form, be as specific as possible.  Create an (more…)

Another Data Breach

SECURITY & FRAUD

First American Financial Admits To Consumer Data Breach

First American Financial, the real estate title insurance company, may have provided unauthorized access to the financial information of its customers.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing First American Financial, the firm said a design defect in one of its applications may have exposed the data of its customers. The company said it hired an independent security forensic company to make sure there wasn’t access to sensitive customer data.  “Therefore, the company took immediate action to address the situation and shut down external access to the application. We are currently evaluating what effect if any, this had on the security of customer information,” according to a statement from the firm. A spokesman for the real estate title company declined to tell The Wall Street Journal how many customers were impacted by the potential breach.  First American Financial offers customers title insurance, settlement services and trust services both in the U.S. and internationally. It had revenue of $5.7 billion last year, reported the paper.

The data breach was first spotted by Krebs on Security, a security news website run by cyber expert Brian Krebs. Krebs said late last week that the data breach at First (more…)

Summer Safety or Don’t Let the Bad Guys Know

With Memorial weekend just we start the unofficial beginning of summer.  With all the fun times we can enjoy, it is important to take just a few moments to remind everyone some simple facts.

1.)  Watch what and when you post on social media.   You may think that only your friends and family  look at your sites, but the truth is many people can view your site without you every knowing.  Post your pictures and tell people about your trip AFTER you get back.  If you tell people on social media you are going away other might know you are not home.

2.) Put your mail on vacation hold.  This can be done at www.usps.com, go to track and manage and you will see hold mail.  A few simple questions and you won’t have mail sticking out of your box.

3.)  Put your lights on a timer.  Burglars like it when things are consistent.  With like coming on and going off at different times will help to throw them off and make your home a less perfect target.

4.) Have a friend or neighbor check on your house every so often.  And do the same for them.

While it is always nice to get away it (more…)

Tax Identity Theft: Protecting Your Credit and Finances

Tax season is here, and though you technically have until April 15 to file your returns, you might want to submit yours sooner than that — at least if you want to avoid potential identity theft (and a whole lot of hassle).

Tax-related identity theft is a growing problem in America, and the more security breaches, information hacks and digital business we do as a society, the more consumers who fall victim to it. In fact, in 2016 alone, thieves stole more than $21 billion in tax refunds as a result of this simple, yet clever, form of identity theft.

Have you fallen victim to Tax ID Theft and need help dealing with the financial ramifications? Or just want to know ways to prevent it from happening to you? This guide can help.

What is Tax-Related Identity Theft?

Tax identity theft occurs when someone files a tax return using your Social Security Number. In some cases, thieves do this in order to claim a fraudulent tax refund. In others, they may have used your SSN to obtain employment. When this occurs, their employer will report all income to the IRS using that SSN. When you don’t report that same income on your own return, the IRS will (more…)

Curiosity got the Cat

Curiosity killed the cat is the way the saying goes, however in this case curiosity got a whole bunch of people fired.

In an unfortunate case of a little curiosity dozens of people were fired for snooping into the medical records of Jussie Smollet at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

When you go to ANY medical professional or facility your medical records are suppose to be private.  Certain instances can cause your records to go to other individuals but we are not going into that here.

HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provided for your protection against unauthorized access to your records.

Many different types of companies have their own policy against unauthorized access of company records for which violating these rule can and does get you immediately terminated for cause.

Whether or not your company has such rules the best thing is to never go snooping for information you are not authorized to have.  And if you are authorized remember you are held to a high confidence level.

So as they say in the old gangster movies “you don’t know nothin.”

Checking your Bank Account Weekly

How often do you currently check your bank account?  Only when the statement comes in or, for some of us, even longer.  Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you have money in your account only to have your card declined while you are out shopping due to someone getting to your account first.

Today it seems, just about everyone has their information out on the dark web due to the hacking events we hear everyday on the news.  But what about the ones we don’t hear?  Most of the time, the hacking has taken place long before you are notified.

One easy habit to get into is to check you bank account every week for any discrepancies.  I have gotten into the habit of checking my account as part of my morning routine.  That way I can catch any suspicious activity before it ruins my day and I also know my bank balance.

Were You Hacked?

by Seena Gressin

Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

Marriott International says that a breach of its Starwood guest reservation database exposed the personal information of up to 500 million people. If your information was exposed, there are steps you can take to help guard against its misuse.

According to Marriott, the hackers accessed people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, gender, Starwood loyalty program account information, and reservation information. For some, they also stole payment card numbers and expiration dates. Marriott says the payment card numbers were encrypted, but it does not yet know if the hackers also stole the information needed to decrypt them.

The hotel chain says the breach began in 2014 and anyone who made a reservation at a Starwood property on or before September 10, 2018 could be affected. Starwood brands include W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, and other hotel and timeshare properties.

The company set up an informational website, https://answers.kroll.com, and a call center, 877-273-9481, to answer questions. It says affected customers also can sign up for a year of free services that will monitor websites that criminals use to share people’s (more…)