Navigation Links
Study reveals security weaknesses in file-sharing methods used in clinical trials
Date:2/16/2011

Ottawa Patients who participate in clinical trials expect that their personal information will remain confidential, but a recent study led by Dr. Khaled El-Emam, Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the CHEO Research Institute, found that the security practices used to transfer and share sensitive files were inadequate.

The two-part study, entitled "How Strong Are Passwords Used to Protect Personal Health Information in Clinical Trials?", published today in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, showed that the majority of passwords used to protect files are poorly constructed and easily cracked using commercial password recovery tools. Study coordinator interviews indicated that electronic information shared in the context of clinical trials may put personal health information at risk.

"The patients in these trials expect that their personal information will be protected," said Dr. El-Emam. "This is critical for maintaining the trust of clinical trial participants, and the public in general."

In the course of the study, passwords for 14 out of 15 sensitive files transmitted by email were successfully decoded. Of these 14, 13 contained sensitive health information and other potentially identifying factors such as name of study site, dates of birth, initials, and gender. File sharing practices were also found to be insecure, with unencrypted patient information being shared via email and posted on shared drives with common passwords.

"Cracking the passwords proved to be trivial," said Dr. El-Emam. "Choices included passwords as simple as car makers (e.g., "nissan"), and common number sequences (e.g., "123"). It was easy for the password recovery tools to guess them."

Poor security practices can be harmful to patients participating in clinical trials, who are at risk of being identified and possibly stigmatized by the disclosure of personal health information. There is also a potential for both medical and non-medical identity theft. In the context of international clinical trials, inadvertent disclosure of personal health information is considered a data breach in countries like the United States, which can lead to penalties in some states.

Dr. El-Emam believes that with some effort file sharing in clinical trials can be made secure: "There are protocols and tools that can be employed for secure file sharing. It may take more effort on the part of those who conduct clinical trials, but the alternative would not be acceptable."

Dr. El-Emam makes several recommendations, including enforcement of strong passwords and encryption algorithms, encrypting all information sent via email including site queries, and minimizing password sharing.


'/>"/>

Contact: Isabelle Mailloux
imailloux@cheo.on.ca
613-737-7600 x3536
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Despite Treatment, Employees with Depression Generate Higher Absentee Costs, According to Thomson Reuters Study
2. American Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time
3. TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
4. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
5. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
6. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
7. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
8. First blinded study of venous insufficiency prevalence in MS shows promising results
9. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
10. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
11. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/30/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... Saturday, April ... veterinarians’ global impact on public health. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the ... year have selected continuing education with a One Health focus, which emphasizes how ...
(Date:4/30/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... Orlando-based Maximized Living has selected Dr. Nick ... in Rio. Under the care of Maximized Living doctors at the London Olympics ... showing, Maximized Living is sending the largest contingent of elite chiropractors to Rio to ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... Ten Footwear Foundation, the national charitable foundation serving the footwear industry, has broken ... volunteers representing more than 130 companies across 23 states during the months of ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... On Tuesday, ... hospitals across the Southeast, celebrated the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal on SB 258, ... Geoff Duncan (R - Cumming), offers a 70% tax credit to individuals and corporations ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Conditions were ideal for Global ... Park on Sunday, with sunny skies, a light breeze and temperatures in the 60s. ... , The 5k Run and Walk and 1-mile walk were held to increase ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... Life Sciences, Product Development Capabilities in ... Customer Base . Indegene ( ... announced the acquisition of Skura Corporation,s life science ... in adaptive sales enablement technology for life science ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... April 29, 2016 Automation is ... laboratory due to the growing demands for productivity in ... contemporary automated systems are already adept of a wide ... tedious and manual labor. Instrumentation continues to evolve, and ... conceivable just a few years ago. Originally used mostly ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Products Market 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... The global plastic surgery products market is expected ... period 2016-2020. , ,The growing adoption of laser in ... of the market. Lasers are used to treat a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: