Archive for November, 2010

Stolen laptop affects 3,700 Henry Ford patients

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Melissa Burden / The Detroit News

An estimated 3,700 patients were affected by the recent breach of Henry Ford Health System’s unsecured personal health information, according to information from Henry Ford Hospital posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Health and Human Services by law must post breaches of unsecured protected health information that affect 500 or more people.

An employee’s laptop with the information was discovered stolen Sept. 24 from an unlocked urology medical office. Henry Ford Health System officials earlier this month would not say how many people were affected in the breach, but that it had notified the male patients who had received prostate services from the system between 1997 and 2008.

From The Detroit News

Jonathan: These sorts of breaches are preventable, but highlight a very important point.  The Internet is NOT the only attack vector.  While it is important to keep your systems patched, up-to-date, and protected with anti-virus software, all that effort is in vain if your devices aren’t secure physically.  Hard disk encryption can prevent breaches in case of theft, but it’s much easier to make sure your laptop is in a secure location – a locked desk drawer for example.

Is USB too slow in 2010?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Faster data transfer between gadgets has been on top of consumers’ wish list.
Enter Light Peak, the new buzzword in peripheral connectivity.
Forget serial, forget USB 2.0, forget USB 3.0, lightpeak has the potential to replace
the existing peripheral connectivity technologies.
Light Peak is an optical cable interface designed to connect devices in a peripheral bus.
The technology has a high bandwidth at 10 Gbit/s, with the potential to scale to 100 Gbit/s by 2020.
Currently in development by Intel, Light Peak is being developed as a single universal replacement for
current buses such as SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire, PCI Express and HDMI, in an attempt to
reduce the proliferation of ports on contemporary computers. Bus systems such as USB
were developed for the same purpose, and successfully replaced a number of older technologies.
However, increasing bandwidth demands have led to higher performance standards like eSATA
and DisplayPort that cannot connect to USB and similar peripherals. Light Peak provides a
high enough bandwidth to drive these over a single type of interface, and often on a single
daisy chained cable.
lightpeak image
Light Peak can be at least twice as fast as USB 3.0, also known as Super-speed USB, and can deliver bandwidth starting at 10 Gigabits per second, with the potential to extend to 100 Gb/s. At its lowest
speed, it means you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds.
If Intel can pull it off, it would mean a big change for consumers. The ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus, or USB, has changed the way we interact with our computers. USB has allowed almost every consumer
electronics product from keyboards, and printers to digital cameras and personal media players to be connected to a host PC using a single standardized socket.
This year, major PC and accessories makers are introducing products that use USB 3.0, whose data transfer rates of 4 Gb/s is up to ten times faster than USB 2.0.
Unlike existing cables used by current technology, optics transfers data using light instead of electricity. That makes its faster, allows for smaller connectors, and thinner, more flexible cables than what’s currently possible, says Intel.
Light Peak uses a controller chip and an optical module that would be included in devices that support the technology. The optical module, which performs the conversion from electricity to light using miniature
lasers and photo detectors, will be manufactured by Intel’s partners, while the chip maker will produce the controller.