PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Officials with the Pennsylvania health department say they are dismayed after learning that contact tracing data belonging to 72,000 people was mishandled by a third-party vendor. The Pennsylvania Department of Health outsourced its contact tracing to a company called Insight Global. Tonight, that company is expressing regret.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, employees at the Atlanta-based staffing firm disregarded security protocols.READ MORE: Giant Supermarket Chain Opening 4 New Stores In Philadelphia, Hiring 700 Employees
In doing so, they may have compromised the private information of at least 72,000 individuals.
A statement from the department reads, in part: “We are extremely dismayed that employees from Insight Global acted in a way that may have compromised this type of information and sincerely apologize to all impacted individuals.”
The department adds that compromised data did not contain any financial account information or social security numbers but may have contained names with phone numbers and email addresses, one’s gender or age, sexual orientation and COVID diagnosis or exposure status.
“The more information you have about a person, for example, the more you can use it to get their identity or in some cases blackmail them or use that to your advantage to turn that into money,” cybersecurity expert Alan Crowetz said.READ MORE: Philadelphia Officials Expected To Provide Update On Reopening Timeline Tuesday, Sources Say
Crowetz believes the number of those impacted is likely to grow.
“One of the rules of security is you might not want to tell the general public everything that was leaked until you have a better grip of what happened so it could be bigger,” Crowetz said.
So how did it happen?
Well, according to Insight Global: “Certain employees set up and used several Google accounts for sharing information. Documents related to contact-tracing collection were included among the information that may have been vulnerable to access.”
The state’s contact tracing app was not impacted.MORE NEWS: 13-Year-Old Among Injured In Allentown Triple Shooting
Insight Global will be notifying people affected by the data breach and will open a hotline on Friday for anyone concerned they might have been involved. That number is 855-535-1787