In August, as many as 1.4 million patient records were compromised at UnityPoint Health Systems when an email phishing scam breached the provider’s network. This was the second of two cyber attacks on the Iowa-based health provider, with clinics and hospitals in Iowa, Wisconsin and Chicago.
The first attack was discovered in April and compromised more than 16,000 health records. The attack may have been found a full four months after the provider’s network had already been compromised. Employees rushed to change passwords, but another series of email phishing attacks loomed.
Email phishing scams, in this case, mean the contact or employee received an email that mimicked a legitimate contractor, vendor or company.
These types of cleverly-disguised emails may include an access link giving the hacker carte blanche with the system. The phishing email may also encourage the contact to update their information. The better phishing emails sometimes appear to come from a vendor that the contact has already worked with or is working with, which makes it more likely that the contact will share requested information.
A spokesperson for UnityPoint Health Systems explained that the cyber attacks were probably aimed at vendor accounts—an attempt to redirect payments or payroll—and not patient records. Despite this, the attacks compromised names, social security numbers, banking information and more.
The sheer number of compromised files after the second series of attacks—equal to more than one-fifth of the Wisconsin state population—prompted the state’s attorney general to recommend credit freezes on compromised health accounts, and a class action lawsuit has already, allegedly, been levied against UnityPoint Health Systems.
The Outlook for UnityPoint Health Systems
The Office of Civil Rights has yet to weigh in on UnityPoint Health System’s possible HIPAA violations, but if recent fines are any indication, the health provider may be in trouble.
Earlier this year, Fresenius Medical Care North America was fined $3.5 million when an OCR investigation revealed that the provider or related covered entities had not performed thorough risk analyses to expose ePHI vulnerabilities. These fines were levied despite no evidence of a breach and following an OCR investigation that took place in 2013.
In summary, and in relation to UnityPoint Health Systems, HIPAA compliance calls for weighing the strength of cybersecurity and physical security protocols against threats to client data, this includes the way employees and business associates handle, access, or store PHI and ePHI. HIPAA also calls for compliance documentation, and encryption is part of the Security Rule—45 CFR 164.304. There is no specific wording in HIPAA regarding email phishing scams, but past fines for phishing compromises fell under 164.308, a section that outlines the responsibility of covered entities to provide security awareness training.
THE HIPAA PENALTY BREAKDOWN
Tier 1: The covered entity is unaware of the violation, and the violation could not have been reasonably avoided–PENALTY: $100 per violation up to $50,000.
Tier 2: The covered entity should have been aware of the violation, and the violation is deemed preventable—PENALTY: $1,000 per violation up to $50,000.
Tier 3: The covered entity demonstrates compliance neglect, but shows efforts to bring the flagged issues into compliance—PENALTY: $10,000 per violation up to $50,000.
Tier 4: The covered entity demonstrates compliance neglect, but shows no effort to bring the flagged issues into compliance—PENALTY: $50,000 per violation.
So far, no money has changed hands in the reported civil suit filed against UnityPoint Health Systems.
However, OCR has already issued more than $24 million in HIPAA fines to other covered entities, and it is only October. At the close of 2017, total fines stood at just over $20 million, and at the close of 2015, HIPAA fines stood at just $6.1 million. When the OCR issues fines for HIPAA violations, these fines are per violation and per day that the violation was active, and the fines can reach back years.
A recent round of OCR audits revealed that almost 85% of evaluated covered entities scored below tier 3 in risk. This equates to negligible and preventable violations, still commonplace more than 20 years after HIPAA implementation.
UnityPoint Health Systems has since reset passwords, utilized multi-factor authentication and enrolled employees in phishing education, but it may be too little too late.
According to a report released by McAfee Labs in March, the health care industry is the number one target for hackers. In fact, cyber attacks grew by more than 200 percent in 2017 over the previous year, and 2018 is gearing up to top last year.
How blockchain can help
Guardtime is a production example that utilizes blockchain technology to secure data. Instead of utilizing verification keys, they instead distribute data to a decentralized set of nodes where the system routinely compares metadata packets. If any end up not aligning, they are excluded. As a result the only way to alter data distributed on the nodes is to alter the blockchain itself by destroying all the nodes. The advantage of this is that if just one node with accurate data remains online after countermeasures defeat the attack, the entire system can be restored.
Guardtime’s system detects changes to data and is subsequently constantly verifying the changes. These types of measures ensure minimal weak ‘links in the chain’ i.e. tampering with the ledgers contained in the blocks, thus the data remains uncompromised.
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Brennan is a blockchain technical adviser in the healthcare sector and blockchain entrepreneur who has worked on developing proprietary concepts for both artificial intelligence and enterprise blockchain. He is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Health Professions where he earned a M.S. in biomedical informatics.
Legacy Records, The First Record Label Paying Music Artists In Crypto
From painters to digital artists to musicians, crypto continues to find integration across artistic mediums. Music continues to be a field that is ripe for revitalization, from a business standpoint. Accordingly, a number of different musicians have been releasing songs and albums as NFTs. Now, we have what’s being reported as the first official record label looking to get involved. The label looks to have artists join the ranks of other musicians getting involved in crypto.
In a press release issued to start this week, Legacy Records CEO Keishia McLeod said it came down to “either get involved or get left behind”. McLeod cited unique income stream opportunities for artists and closed by saying that “this is the future, not a trend”. McLeod has stated previously her intent to drive the label to be at the forefront of leveraging emerging technology in music.
There are two major buckets contributing to Legacy’s approach. The first is the most notable, as the label will become the first to offer artists an opportunity to receive their advance and royalty payments in the form of crypto. The second is to engage artists with NFTs, allowing fans to participate in auctions for unique content. The label’s specific plans around NFTs, and number of artists seeking to get paid in crypto, have not yet been disclosed.
As the crypto market grows, both artists and businesses are getting involved | Source: CRYPTOCAP-TOTAL on TradingView.com
Legacy Music’s Broader Business Growth
Las Vegas-based Legacy Records, not to be confused with Sony’s Legacy Recordings, will look to take advantage of the potential press buzz from the announcement. However, in tandem with the release, the label also announced a to-be-name music distributor who has also agreed to pay Legacy Records artists in bitcoin. The label also merged with New Jersey entertainment lawyer Navarro Gray’s ‘The Gray Firm’, to provide legal guidance around digital execution.
McLeod has noted previously that the label has desired being a mainstay in revolutionizing the way music artists do business. In a January interview with the LA Tribune, McLeod cited Netflix’s impact on the film industry, adding that “we haven’t seen that yet in this industry, but it’s coming. We’re going to be a large part of making that happen”.
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Music Artists Emerging Into Crypto
Legacy’s roster has the potential to join a growing list of music artists that continue to engage with crypto and NFTs. Last month, we wrote about long-time hip-hop artist Eminem partnering with Nifty Gateway to release original instrumental beats. Saturday Night Live promptly had a sketch explaining the digital collectibles parodying Eminem’s “Without Me”.
Other musicians engaging with NFTs include DJ Premier, 3LAU, The Weeknd, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, and more.
Each week, our team recaps the week’s NFT action with ‘NFTs In A Nutshell‘ – covering everything NFT, from sport, music, and more.
Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com
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XRP, Dogecoin, Chainlink Price Analysis: 17 May
Dogecoin required to counter bearish conditions before a jump above $0.569 resistance. Lastly, Chainlink needed to push above $45.5 to trigger a bullish comeback after a descending triangle breakdown.
Gains made over the last three days were impressive especially considering a bearish broader market, but sellers returned at $1.52-resistance. At press time, the cryptocurrency traded within the channel $1.52-$1.31 and reflected a degree of equilibrium between the buyers and sellers. For those hoping to make profits from a volatile XRP market, ADX’s movement dimmed expectations. Since mid-April, ADX has been on a steady decline and a period of consolidation seemed likely.
RSI hovered in the neutral territory around 50. A symmetrical triangle awaited a breakout to the upside and the Fibonacci tool presented a few target levels above the 200% extension level north of $3 (not shown).
On the daily timeframe, Dogecoin showed some sideways movement as bulls prepared for the next upswing. The channel between $0.523 and $0.373 was bolstered by the 20-SMA (blue) and formed a reliable buy zone should another dip occur.
As mentioned earlier, breaking above $0.569 resistance could trigger another rally in the DOGE market. Steering clear of $0.73-resistance would heighten the chances of DOGE touching $1. However, bearish conditions still presided and had to be countered first before any talks of an upswing. Awesome Oscillator noted bearish pressure after a series of red bars. MACD line remained below the Signal line but a bullish crossover could signal the onset of an uptrend.
Chainlink broke south from a descending triangle and a single candlewick dropped as low as $35.1- representing losses of 14% from the bottom trendline. Now below its 50-SMA (yellow) on the daily timeframe, bearish sentiment could lead to another sell-off towards $31 for LINK. On the other hand, some buying volume was noted on the 4-hour timeframe. A pickup in volumes and buying pressure could lead to a resurgence above $45.5 and this would likely push LINK beyond $50. A broader market recovery could act as a catalyst for such a price swing.
Meanwhile, RSI’s lower highs confirmed weakness after LINK formed a peak at $52.9. Even though Chaikin Money Flow dipped over the past couple of days, the index was still well above the half-line as capital inflows outmatched outflows.
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Speculation Tesla Dumped Its Bitcoin Holdings Denied By Musk
Elon Musk puts to bed rumors that Tesla has sold its remaining Bitcoin holdings. The comments came following his second attack on the leading cryptocurrency. This time, he called out the dominance of Chinese mining pools in a now-deleted tweet.
Bitcoin continued from its weekend slide with another drop today, currently down 5% at the time of writing. Given Musk’s apparent influence on markets, some insist he exercises more restraint on social media.
Tesla Has Not Dumped Its Bitcoin
Last week, the Tesla boss announced his firm would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its EVs. The reason he gave was a growing concern about the use of highly polluting coal by miners.
This coincided with a mass sell-off in which Bitcoin was hit particularly hard, closing the day down 13% to $49.5k.
Today, Musk tweeted that Bitcoin is highly centralized due to the small number of mining pools that control the network. He maintains that coal is a significant power source for miners, despite counter claims that the network runs mostly on renewable sources.
“A single coal mine in Xinjiang flooded, almost killing miners, and Bitcoin hash rate dropped 35%. Sound decentralized to you?”
In amongst the responses, @CryptoWhale suggested that Tesla will sell their Bitcoin holdings. Adding that, if that happened, Bitcoiners would only have themselves to blame. He was referring to the outpouring of hate directed at Musk.
Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings.
With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn’t blame him…
— Mr. Whale (@CryptoWhale) May 16, 2021
Musk replied to the tweet with a response of “Indeed.” Some publications interpreted this as confirmation that Musk had already dumped his Bitcoin holdings.
But in a semblance of grace, Musk put the record straight by saying Tesla has not dumped its BTC holdings.
“To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin.”
However, with everything that has gone on since last week, is it only a matter of time before Tesla sells up?
Musk Should Be Aware Of His Influence In Moving Markets
Key crypto figures have rallied together in support of Bitcoin. Michael Saylor announced a $15 million BTC buy adding to MicroStrategy’s already substantial war chest, while Jack Dorsey tweeted a message of support in improving its green credentials.
However, @PlanB took a less nuanced approach by accused Musk of deliberating trying to destroy Bitcoin. The comment came in a poll asking his followers whether Musk has derailed Bitcoin from meeting expectations per the stock-to-flow model (S2F).
S2F refers to a predictive model based on scarcity over time. PlanB, who adapted it for Bitcoin use, puts the price of BTC at a minimum of $100,000 by year-end.
The Managing Partner and Co-founder of Nexo, Antoni Trenchev, said Musk should “wake up” to his influence in moving markets.
“He has to wake up to the reality that with his following, even single-worded tweets can move markets.”
But as some would suggest, he is already well aware of his clout in that regard.
Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
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