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
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.
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.
"Persistent" is the operative word about the advanced persistent threat that has struck RSA and its SecurID products. "If the bad guys out there want to get to someone ... they can," says David Navetta of the Information Law Group.
"It is the biggest breach we have ever seen; and to say no financial information has been stolen is, well, understating the massive breach and concern," says Neil Schwartzman, founder and chief security specialist at CASL Consulting.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights will hold their fourth annual healthcare information security conference May 10-11 in Washington.
"When it comes to APTs ... you don't bother to just simply hack the organization and its infrastructure; you focus much more of your attention on hacking the employees," says Uri Rivner, head of new technologies, identity protection and verification at RSA.
A survey of American households - the same one used to determine the national unemployment rate - shows that 37,000 individuals in the United States consider themselves as information security analysts.