The Influencers is a continuing series of profiles of the people who help shape healthcare information security and privacy policies.
Farzad Mostashari, M.D.
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Most furloughed federal employees would have had to turn in their BlackBerries and other mobile devices in a U.S. government shutdown. Just as well, using the technology could have resulted in an employee landing in the slammer.
The Privacy and Security Tiger Team is advocating requiring participants in Stage 2 of the HITECH Act's electronic health record incentive program to verify how they are keeping stored data secure, such as through encryption.
Defining essential federal information systems, such as those at the Department of Health and Human Services, to keep operating during a partial government shutdown could prove more complex than defining essential federal workers not to furlough.
It's serious news that RSA's SecurID solution has been the target of an advanced persistent threat. But "It's not a game-changer," says Stephen Northcutt, CEO of SANS Institute. "Anybody who says it is [a game-changer] is an alarmist."
The federal government's official tally of major health information breaches now confirms the recent Health Net incident affected 1.9 million individuals, making it the largest breach on the list. Meanwhile, at least four state agencies are now investigating the incident.
When it comes to e-marketing and the reliance on third parties such as Epsilon, Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University says banks and merchants should "come clean" about the information they share with outside entities.
Communicating with customers about the incident and warning them not to click links in phishing e-mails are all these impacted institutions and companies really can do, says Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer of WhiteHat Security.