Up until recently, the medical files of 300,000 California residents sat entirely unsecured on the web, just waiting for the world to look at them.
They included things like doctors’ notes, Social Security numbers and insurance forms. Among the documents were case histories which detailed things like the crushed fingers of a truck driver, the broken ribs of a maintenance worker, and even one man’s battle sexual dysfunction.
At a time when computer hacking is at its peak, this gives a small glimpse into the risks we face as we head into the era of digitized medical information.
This tactic keeps costs low, cuts bureaucracy, and may save lives. The government has even offered bonuses to those who adopt the program early, and threaten to levy penalties on those who refuse to go digital.
However, this breach shows us what the true cost can be.
Experts say that the California company failed to utilize two fundamental techniques which would have protected the data – mandating a password and telling the search engines to not index the pages.