Faster breach discovery may be linked to a growing number of hacking incidents

Security Breach
More than half of data breaches in August were tied to hacking incidents.

Analysts are tempering predictions that the healthcare industry is getting better at detecting and reporting data breaches following a month in which insider breaches took eight times longer to identify compared to hacking incidents.

Earlier this year, Protenus analysts noticed the average time in which it took healthcare entities to discover a breach had declined over the first half of 2017, a trend they attributed to increased enforcement by the Department of Health and Human Services.

RELATED: Healthcare data breaches haven’t slowed down in 2017, and insiders are mostly to blame

But now those same analysts believe that trend may be linked to a growing number of hacking incidents that are easier to uncover. In August, hacking incidents were discovered in just 26 days on average compared to 209 days for insider incidents, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer report.

Hacking accounted for more than half of all incidents in August, while insiders were responsible for 27%, a notable trend since insiders have traditionally made up the majority of healthcare data breaches.

RELATED: HHS updates OCR's data breach reporting tool

“Generally, hacking incidents are discovered much sooner than insider incidents because of the disruption to the organization’s daily operations,” the report said. “Additional analyses will be conducted going forward to see this is an emerging trend or if this is directly associated with the influx of hacking incidents.”

In some cases, insider breaches have gone on for as long as 14 years before it was discovered. For at least one company, delayed breach reporting led to a $130,000 settlement with the state of New York.

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