Healthcare data breaches on the rise

Hackers aren’t just interested in financial information like credit card numbers or routing numbers anymore. They’re relying increasingly on other personal information – insurance information, social security numbers, and more – to carry out their dastardly deeds.  As such, healthcare service providers are often hit by phishing attacks and account takeovers.

A recent report suggests it could be getting worse. This year, March saw 2.5 times the number of breached patient records than January and February combined, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer. That’s 1.5 million breached records in total, resulting from 31 breach incidents across doctors’ offices.

There is a silver(ish) lining, though. Healthcare systems are getting much better at quickly discovering and reporting these data breaches. For the incidents reported in March, it took healthcare providers an average of 45 days to report the breaches. That’s a dramatic decrease: down from 478 days in February.

Fake Google Maps listings drop 70%

Until recently, Google Maps had been a frequent target for fraudsters. Google My Business allows business owners to keep customers informed by creating Maps listings and sharing information about their businesses on Google Maps. Scammers have taken advantage of this feature to register fake listings, defraud competitors, or scam would-be customers.

By updating their machine learning systems to detect data discrepancies that usually signal fake listings, Google has decreased fake listings by 70% since 2015. In fact, Google can now detect 85% of fake listings before they even make it to Maps: just another way machine learning is helping win the fight against fake and abusive content.

Tilting your phone may cause a data breach

Most of us are familiar with phishing and account takeover, but your next data breach might come from an unlikely source: tilting your phone. Here’s how it works. Most smartphones, tablets, and wearables have gyroscopes and rotation sensors that track where and how you tap on your screen. Apps and websites typically don’t ask your permission to access this information. So, hackers have started programming malicious code into innocuous-looking websites that can “listen in” on the data.

By tracking how users clicked, scrolled, held, and tapped their phones, researchers at Newcastle University were able to crack four-digit Android pins with 70% accuracy! Although Google and App are aware of the risks, they haven’t come up with a fix. But smartphone users themselves are more likely to worry about their GPS and camera spying on them than by inviting a data breach by tapping “send.”

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Roxanna "Evan" Ramzipoor

Roxanna "Evan" Ramzipoor is a content marketing manager at Sift Science. Her debut novel The Ventriloquists will be released in 2019.