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Data breach at healthcare provider threatens half the population of Norway

26 Jan., 2018

From HRMC warning taxpayers over scammers to a data breach of Norway’s most popular healthcare provider and the dark web selling babies’ social security – the need for better data protection has never been greater.

Just a few weeks in to 2018, and already cyber security news is dominating the press. In case you missed it, here are some of the top stories from the week which demonstrate the overwhelming necessity for organizations and individuals to take personal data protection more seriously.

At the beginning of the week, Infosecurity Magazine reported that one of Norway’s most popular healthcare providers, Health South-East RHF, had possibly experienced a data breach that potentially exposed the personal details on over half of the population of the country. The breach was reported to the police and was said to have been carried out by an “advanced and professional” actor.  While assessments are still being made, it is unclear yet as to the effects it will have on patients or their treatments. What is clear to us is that the theft of data stemming from healthcare providers is increasing as criminals are realizing that this could be a weak link to steal information used to sell on the Black Market or to commit any manner of fraud.

Speaking of selling personal information on the Black Market, the next news story of the week is that the Dark Web is host to adverts that market full identity packs, complete with social security numbers, personal data and mothers’ maiden names. The listing was found on the Dream Market, a large Dark Web marketplace, advertising the details just in time for tax season.  According to the report, the “valuable stolen data offers nefarious actors access to a clean credit history allowing them to apply for credit cards, receive government benefits, take out mortgages, claim extra tax credits to maximize their return and more.”  For $2, malicious actors are able to find tutorials on the Dark Web that help them commit tax frauds and file returns without being detected proving once again what a lucrative business fraudsters have created in the shadows.

While scammers may think they are getting away with fraud, it’s encouraging to find that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK is attempting to fight back. By working with partners including the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to combat fraudulent SMS text messages purporting to be from HMRC, the government body has piloted a project to stop these kinds of messages reaching recipients. Since its inception, HRMC has reported a 90% reduction in customer complaints about the spoofing of HMRC-related messages.

On Sunday, 28th Jan, it’s Data Privacy Day and Stay Safe Online provides anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud some good advice. For organizations, the best means of protecting their customers’ and employees’ personal data is to use an encryption solution, particularly when moving and accessing data to and from the cloud.  Stay safe out there!


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