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Doctors’ mobile devices at risk of leaking critical medical data

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April 6, 2016

According to a new report, about 20.7 percent of doctors’ mobile devices might be at risk of leaking sensitive medical information due to various forms of malware or simply poor password security practices on their phones, iPads and laptops.

Mobile device security firm Skycure reports that roughly 14 percent of smartphones and tablets containing sensitive patient data likely have no passwords to protect them.

And nearly 11.2 percent of those running outdated operating systems with high-severity security vulnerabilities may have stored patient data on them as well.

About 4.2 percent of all Android devices were found to be infected with malicious apps. Skycure estimates that 27.8 million devices with medical apps installed might also be infected with high-risk malware.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 263 major healthcare security breaches occurred last year.

Of those security incidents, a small but significant minority (9 percent) involved a mobile device other than a laptop.

Skycure’s second Mobile Threat Intelligence report is based on global mobile data from Skycure and third-party sources.

The firm's mobile threat defense system conducted no less than 51 million network tests last year, and detected the installation of almost thirteen-thousand malicious apps.

The study is based in part on millions of monthly security tests from October through December 2015 and includes both consumer devices and various other devices under management by Skycure in enterprise organizations.

Numbers crunched as part of the study also includes Skycure’s proprietary Mobile Threat Risk Score, which acts as a credit score to measure the risk of threat exposure for mobile devices.

Looking outside the healthcare industry specifically, the report also reveals that the percentage of devices with passwords enabled rose slightly to 51.9 percent in the last quarter of 2015 from 48.2 percent in Q3, 2015.

The small increase, which still leaves about 48.6 percent of devices completely unprotected, may be due to new devices activated over the December holidays featuring biometric passwords, according to Skycure.

Not surprisingly, the study also found that users of iPhones and iPads are better protected because they are more likely to have the most current version of their device’s operating system than their Android counterparts.

At the end of last year, close to 88.1 percent of iOS users had upgraded to iOS 9 or later, the most recent major version of the Apple mobile operating system.

By contrast, only 2.9 percent of Android users were using Android 6.0 by the end of 2015, a shortcoming that leaves the vast majority of Android devices vulnerable to exploits targeting older versions of the operating system.

Android upgrade adoption is further complicated by wireless carrier and device manufacturer release times.

Source: Skycure Internet Security Inc.

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Read the latest IT news. Visit ItDirection.net. Updated several times daily.

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