The extortionist's handiwork was discovered June 25, according to the physicians.
They filed a report with the Libertyville, Ill., police department, but according its Lt. Scott Fabbri, the report was merely a “courtesy.” The U.S. Secret Service immediately took over the investigation. Since then, “I've heard nothing from the Secret Service,” Fabbri said.
I rang the Secret Service last Friday and left a message. So far, I haven't heard back, either.
Under the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act, the Secret Service—since 2002 a part of Homeland Security—established a nationwide network of 25 Electronic Crimes Task Forces, bringing together “not only federal, state and local law enforcement, but also prosecutors, private industry and academia.”
The 25 ECTFs, including the one I called in Chicago, have a common purpose: “The prevention, detection, mitigation and aggressive investigation of attacks on the nation's financial and critical infrastructures.”
To warrant ECTF attention, an incident must have either “significant economic or community impact,” “participation of organized criminal groups involving multiple districts or transnational organizations,” or “use of schemes involving new technology.”
So, on the one hand, you think, “My, hasn't healthcare IT come up in the world?”
On the other hand, one wonders if a 7,000-record breach brings in a national security task force, what will the next, million-record breach warrant, martial law?
This state of affairs reminds me of when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s in Northwest Indiana where a necklace of Nike missile bases ringed the region. They were there, we were told, to defend the steel-making heart of America from the Russians, who could attack us at any time by flying bombers over the North Pole. But I always wondered why the Nike bases weren't built on the steel mills' lakefront property instead of where they were: miles to the south where we all lived.
Sometimes, they'd bring the missiles up from their silos, filling Northwest Indiana citizens with both awe (they were pretty cool-looking missiles, after all) and Strangelovian angst. “When those A-bombs start dropping, boys,” you'd hear folks say, “we're gonna be the first ones hit.”
And so, now we have both HHS and Homeland Security working on health IT security to keep us safe, of course.
On the one hand, it's sort of an honor.
But on the other hand, I'm thinking, “Yahoo!”