10 Essential Tips to Safeguard Your Medical Data: Protecting Yourself from a Data Breach

April 28, 2024
 |  Cybersecurity  |  Security Tips  |  Wireless Security

In today’s digital age, our medical information is increasingly stored electronically. This convenience comes with a risk: data breaches. Unfortunately, healthcare providers are frequent targets for cyberattacks, as recently highlighted by the data breach at Kaiser Permanente.

What Happened at Kaiser?

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan has submitted a data breach report to the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), acknowledging a breach of 13.4 million records. This filing marks the largest breach reported to OCR in 2024 to date.

According to Kaiser’s statement to TechCrunch, the breach originated from the utilization of specific technologies on its websites and applications. These technologies may have inadvertently transmitted data to third-party vendors, including Google, Microsoft, and X.

The compromised data encompasses member names, IP addresses, and details regarding member interactions with Kaiser’s websites.

Here are 10 essential tips to safeguard your medical data:

  1. Strong Passwords & Multi-Factor Authentication: Use unique and strong passwords for all your healthcare portals. Many healthcare providers offer multi-factor authentication (MFA) which adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code from your phone or email to login. Always enable MFA if available. 
  2. Beware of Phishing Emails: Phishing emails attempt to trick you into revealing personal information. Be wary of emails requesting medical information or login credentials. Never click on suspicious links or attachments. 
  3. Review and Update Online Medical Accounts: Regularly review your online medical accounts for accuracy. Update contact information and ensure you recognize all listed medications and procedures. 
  4. Limit Who Sees Your Medical Data: Only authorize healthcare providers who absolutely need access to view your medical records. Consider using a personal health information (PHI) management tool to control access to your data. 
  5. Be Cautious with Medical Apps: Before downloading a medical app, research its security practices. Only download apps from reputable sources and be mindful of what data the app collects. 
  6. Keep Software Updated: Outdated software on your devices can have security vulnerabilities. Regularly update your operating system, web browser, and any healthcare apps you use. 
  7. Beware of Public Wi-Fi: Avoid accessing online medical accounts or portals when using public Wi-Fi. Public networks are not secure and hackers can easily intercept data. 
  8. Be Wary of Social Media Oversharing: Avoid sharing too much personal information on social media, especially details about your health conditions or upcoming appointments. 
  9. Shred Medical Documents: Before discarding medical documents, properly shred them to prevent unauthorized access to your information. 
  10. Stay Informed: Healthcare providers are required by law to notify you if your data is compromised in a breach. Be sure to monitor any communications from your healthcare providers and report any suspicious activity.

Remember, you play a vital role in protecting your medical data. By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of your information falling into the wrong hands.

For more information on protecting your medical data, you can visit the following resources:

By staying vigilant and taking proactive steps, you can safeguard your medical data and your privacy.

For more information on up to date Data Breaches and security tips follow Sentry Communications & Security at (866) 573-6879 today.