The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.
The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.
For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.
The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.
This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
This is not good and should have been avoidable:
Commissioner urges vigilance in wake of computer virus outbreak at Alberta Health Services
July 8, 2009
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has been notified by Alberta Health Services that a virus was present on the Alberta Health Services network in Edmonton. The virus impacted the network and Netcare, Alberta’s electronic health record, before it was discovered and removed.
The virus is a new variant of a Trojan horse program called coreflood and is designed to steal data from an infected computer and send it to a server controlled by a hacker. Coreflood captures passwords and data the user of the computer accesses. The virus was active from May 15 to 29 before it was detected and removed.
AHS identified two groups who are potentially at risk. Patients whose health information was accessed in Netcare through an infected computer and employees who accessed personal banking and email accounts from work using an infected computer. AHS is sending letters to the 11,582 patients whose information may have been exposed and has notified all affected employees.
Commissioner Frank Work says this does not necessarily mean Netcare itself has been infected by the virus; rather the virus may have captured patient data accessed through Netcare from an infected computer and sent it to an external party. “While it appears the risk to patients is low, viruses don’t discriminate and this is an important message to everyone about the need to run up to date anti virus software”, says the Commissioner.
The Commissioner’s office is investigating. In the meantime Work is expecting a full forensic report from Alberta Health Services on how this happened and what steps will be taken to prevent future breaches. Work says “AHS responded quickly when the virus was detected and that steps have been taken to notify users and patients with advice on what they should do to protect personal and health information”.
The Canadian Privacy Law Blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.