Chris Bowen isn’t pulling any punches. The founder and chief privacy and security officer of Arizona-based ClearDATA, Bowen has written for HealthcareIT News to warn about what he calls “the seedy underworld of medical data trafficking.” But why is health data so coveted among cyber-crooks? “To understand why one Medicare number can sell for close to $500,” Bowen says, “consider that these records typically include names, birth dates, social security numbers, policy numbers and billing information that can be used for an equally exhaustive list of profitable activities. Using a valid Medicare number, thieves can open multiple credit lines, create fake IDs, and purchase medical equipment or pharmaceuticals that can be resold at a profit and defraud insurance companies.”

The problem for the industry, he says, is that much of the IT infrastructure “is aging and fragmented with inconsistent security—in short, a cyber crook’s ideal target.” One key solution, he offers, involves partnering with a cloud service vendor with multiple layers of security. “Having layers of security,” he argues, “gives the defenders time to identify the breach, delay the attackers and ultimately repel the attack in order to keep the most valuable assets safe.”

About the Author
Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care
Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.