in HIPAA Headlines by John Brewer

Ok, this may not feel like a HIPAA related topic…but hang on, you’ll see where I’m going with this.

You’ve all heard of Bitcoin I’m sure. This is the big player in “crypto currency”. You know, that non-money money.

Bitcoin has competitors like Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and more. You can view a market value of these currencies here.

I’m not going to get into whether these currencies should have value or not, that’s another topic.

One of the many thing these currencies enable is very easy giving and receiving of the currency.
This giving and receiving can also be completely anonymous.

Ethereum, mentioned above, was the currency used in a mishap recently. A company was offering a version of an IPO to investors, who would pay with Ether, the Ethereum version of crypto currency.

Payment via crypto currency are essentially one way events. You basically send an email with your code in it, and poof, money gone. Again, this is good and bad.

When this company made the announcement of their offering, they asked investors to send in their Ether payment to a specific address.
What this company didn’t know, is somebody on the email list wanted to rob them.
They hacked the website and changed the address to which payments would be sent.
Once the hack was discovered, over $7 Million worth of Ether had been sent to this “wrong” address.

There is no recourse for those who sent. The Ether is gone.

Since all of this can be accomplished in an anonymous fashion, nobody can track down the account to which all the Ether was sent.

This anonymity of payment receipt has spurned another problem: hackers can demand ransom and take payment anonymously.
This is why we’ve seen an increase in the ransomware attacks.

There are even cybercrime-as-a-service type websites popping up to make it that much easier for anyone to launch ransomware attacks.

If you haven’t yet caught on to how this applies to your medical business…well…
If all of your computers were locked due to a ransomware attack, how much would you be willing to pay to get things functioning again?


Wouldn’t you rather minimize the risk of this happening?
If it does happen, wouldn’t you like to have an action plan ready to implement?

Any idea of the federal requirements to report an incident like this?

Right, no clue, I understand.

This giant headache for you is a direct side effect of crypto currency.

Crypto currency is cool, mysterious and dangerous in many ways.

You need to know how to protect your office, and this begins with policies, procedures and training.

About John Brewer

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