Thieves steal tapes holding 2.2M billing records

Courier violated protocol, taking data home instead of directly to off-site storage facility

University of Utah officials this week acknowledged that a metal box of backup tapes containing billing records of some 2.2 million patients was stolen early this month from the car of a courier who left it in a parked car overnight outside his home.

The missing tapes were taken on June 2 from the car of an employee of Perpetual Storage, an independent storage company hired by the university to transport its computer tapes to off-site facilities, said school officials. The tapes contained names, demographic information and Social Security numbers of patients of the University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics health care system.

The health care system has suspended all backup tape deliveries to Perpetual Storage pending a full review of the company's protocols and procedures, said a university spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman confirmed that Perpetual Storage fired the individual involved with the data breach for violating company data security transportation protocols. The driver had been employed by Perpetual Storage for 18 years, she said.

The spokeswoman said the driver informed his employer immediately upon discovering that the tapes were lost. Perpetual Storage informed the University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics officials within 24 hours of the breach, she added.

Perpetual Storage did not immediately return calls by Computerworld seeking comment.

The university spokeswoman declined to say whether any of the missing data storage tapes were encrypted.

Lorris Betz, senior vice-president for Health Sciences and CEO of University of Utah Health & Clinics, said in a posted alert that it's unlikely that any information on the backup tapes will be exposed to thieves. "Although it is unlikely that information on the tapes will be compromised, we are nevertheless taking aggressive steps to protect our patients' confidentiality," Betz said in the post.

The university plans to mail notification letters to all patients whose data was held on the stolen tapes and offer them free credit monitoring services. The missing tapes did not hold any credit card information, noted school officials.

The university is offering a reward of US$1,000 for the return of the stolen tapes with "no questions asked." The Salt Lake County Sherriff's Department, the FBI and US Postal Service are investigating the theft.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brian Fonseca

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?