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UnityPoint Health Systems faced cyber attacks – how blockchain can help

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. UnityPoint Health Systems Cyber Attack The first attack was…

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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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Blockchain

CoinShares Launches a $75 Million Physically-Backed Ethereum (ETH) ETP

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A month after launching a Bitcoin ETP on Switzerland’s SIX Exchange, CoinShares has released a physically-backed exchange-traded product following the performance of the second-largest cryptocurrency – Ethereum. 

  • Describing itself as “Europe’s largest digital asset investment house,” CoinShares is a cryptocurrency-oriented manager with over $4 billion in AUM. The company, headquartered in London, announced the launch of its latest crypto product – a new physically-backed ETP tracking the performance of Ethereum. 
  • Called CoinShares Physical Ethereum, the product is already listed on the regulated SIX Swiss Exchange under the ticker ETHE and has a base fee of 1.25%. According to the company, the cost is “lower than the industry standard” of 2%. 
  • The statement explained that each unit of ETHE is backed with 0.03 Ether tokens at launch. Thus, it provides investors with “passive exposure to Ethereum’s native asset with the convenience of an ETP.” 
  • “In the early days of 2021, we have seen a continuation of last year’s demand in digital assets from institutions. We have also seen an increase in investor interest in Ethereum. We are encouraged by our client’s trust in our team to guide them in their journey through the digital asset ecosystem, and for many, Ethereum is an important part of that journey.” – commented Chief Revenue Officer Frank Spiteri. 

  • It’s worth noting that this is the company’s second similar product tracking the performance of a crypto asset launched this year. Somewhat expectedly, the first one, released in mid-January, follows the largest digital asset by market cap – Bitcoin. 
  • CryptoPotato reported upon its launch that it started with AUM of $200 million, and each unit is backed by 0.001 BTC. 
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/coinshares-launches-a-75-million-physically-backed-ethereum-etp/

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Chainlink Price Analysis: 27 February

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Disclaimer: The findings of the following analysis are the sole opinions of the writer and should not be taken as investment advice

Bearish sentiment has been the norm over the past few days, with the same being the case at press time for altcoins such as Chainlink. LINK has seen its price hike by around 164 percent since the start of the year. Over the last 7 days, however, with sellers dominating the market, LINK lost close to 28 percent of its value. While there have been some signs of recovery on the price charts, traders cannot discount the possibility of a further dip soon.

At the time of writing, LINK was trading at $25.5 with a market cap of close to $10.5 billion, making it the ninth-largest cryptocurrency according to CoinMarketCap’s list.

Chainlink 1-day Chart

Source: LINK/USD, TradingView

Chainlink’s price surged within an ascending channel formation over the last two months and as expected, the breakout was bearish for the coin. Additionally, Bitcoin also fell over the past week, adding to LINK’s price woes.

At press time, while LINK had strong resistance around the $35.1-price range, it was testing the support at $23.9, just like it has over the past few days. If this support level fails, it is quite likely that LINK will head towards the next support at $19, creating an opportunity for traders to open short positions.

Rationale

The technical indicators for LINK were quite bearish at press time and one can expect a further price drop for the coin in the coming days. At the time, the RSI indicator was quite far away from the overbought zone and was close to the oversold zone, indicating the absence of a buyer-dominated market.

If the RSI drops even further, LINK’s downtrend will continue. The MACD indicator also painted a similar picture after having seen the Signal line go past the MACD line, resulting in a bearish crossover.

Important levels to watch out for 

Resistance: $35.1

Support: $23.9, $19

Entry: $24.7

Take Profit: $19.4

Stop Loss: $34.4

Risk/Reward: 0.56

Conclusion

Chainlink saw its price surge on the charts over the past two months. However, the sentiment has since changed quite significantly and the coin seemed to be firmly in the grip of the bears. The altcoin may see a further price drop in the coming week if the press time support level fails. Such a scenario will result in LINK’s price going below the $20-mark, presenting an opportunity for short positions in the market.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/chainlink-price-analysis-27-february

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Bitcoin Cash, Huobi Token, Zcash Price Analysis: 27 February

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Bitcoin Cash retained the 10th spot on the crypto-rankings, despite being severely impacted by the recent correction in the broader market. Huobi Token flashed bullish signals, but a break above its press time resistance was unlikely. Finally, Zcash was projected to trade within a fixed channel since volatility was low in the market.

Bitcoin Cash [BCH]

Source: BCH/USD, TradingView

Weekly losses on Bitcoin Cash‘s charts amounted to 34% as a correction in the broader market had a negative effect on the crypto-asset. This period also saw $3 billion erode from BCH’s total value as it held on to the number 10th spot in the crypto-rankings by a bare margin, with a market cap of $9.18 billion. At the time of writing, BCH’s price was floating just above its $464-support, while the indicators gave mixed signals on BCH’s future trajectory.

The RSI pointed lower from under the 40-mark and reflected the weakness in price. On the other hand, the MACD moved above the Signal line while the histogram registered rising bullish momentum. With the crypto-market awaiting strong cues, we can expect BCH to remain above its press time support level. If the aforementioned level fails, the next line of defense would be at $421.5.

Huobi Token [HT]

Source: HT/USD, TradingView

The ADX indicator showed that Huobi Token’s uptrend was weakening after the price snapped an all-time high exactly a week ago. In fact, the losses amounted to over 30% following the broader sell-off in the crypto-market. At the time of writing, the altcoin’s price had bounced back from the $15.4-support after the bulls stepped in.

The MACD closed in on a bullish crossover, while the red bars on the histogram moved towards the half-line on the histogram. Either way, its gains would be capped at the immediate resistance and a hike to record levels seemed unlikely over the coming trading sessions.

Zcash [ZEC]

Source: ZEC/USD, TradingView

The Bollinger Bands on Zcash’s hourly charts were compressed as volatility remained low after the price bounced back from its $114.7-support. Weak trading volumes and buying pressure worked against a bullish outcome even though the price looked to breach the $124.75-resistance.

The Awesome Oscillator switched to red from green as momentum moved back and forth over the last few sessions. Moving forward, expect Zcash to remain within its current channel as it awaits stronger signals from the broader market for a definitive move on the charts.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-cash-huobi-token-zcash-price-analysis-27-february

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