To The Sun:

My wife, Ann, and I were recently among the no doubt many elated recipients of the March 11 letter from Labette Health. One informed us that on Oct. 14, 2021, Labette Health identified unauthorized access to its network. And as a result of the breach, our personal information files were among those accessed and possibly acquired by “an unauthorized individual.” Personal information may include our full names and one or more of the following (to the extent such resided in Labette Health’s system): Social Security Numbers, medical treatment and diagnosis information, treatment costs, dates of service, prescription information, Medicare or Medicaid number and/or health insurance information.

Along with apologies, Labette Health’s correspondence further included information regarding “precautionary measures” we victims may take to protect our personal information. These include a complimentary one-year membership of identity theft protection services through IDX. Protection that, in addition to credit and cyber scan monitoring, and an insurance reimbursement policy, would also “help us resolve issues” should our identity become compromised. IDX is one of a growing array of personal information protection services long available to public and private “paying customers.”

Of course a data systems breach is in no way unique to Labette Health. A cursory review of reporting by The New York Times and other news outlets in recent years finds that the victims of successful hacking have included branches of the U.S. Department of Defense, State Department, Treasury Department, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and others. That’s not to mention the glaring security flaws not so long ago noted in the Kansas unemployment system as the struggle to determine just how many fraudulent claims have thus far been paid out no doubt continues.

This brings us to the following solution to all this worldwide hacking that continues to plague much of today’s humankind. If IDX and its peers are truly competent defenses against such threats, then simply mandate that all levels of government and other personal information collecting/maintaining institutions such as Labette Health should employ such services themselves. And they should do so much sooner rather than after failing to protect sensitive information in good faith entrusted to them. — WILLIAM JAMES MOORE, Parsons

 

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