A new report from The Washington Post says that while the US health care industry might have some of the country’s most sensitive personal information, failure to use rudimentary safeguards like disk encryption and password protection means it has some of the worst information security — “about like retail,” according to a government IT security specialist. “It is an industry with the least regard, understanding and respect for IT security of any I’ve seen,” said Johns Hopkins researcher Avi Rubin.

"It was possible to hack a secure drug-dispensing cabinet from a web browser."

While hospitals might not provide the same juicy target for hackers as financial institutions, the array of personal information in patients’ records is fodder for fraud and identity theft. The Post's report cites a March 30th story about an attack based in Eastern Europe that managed to access Medicaid data for 780,000 people from the Utah Health Department. There are also no shortage of risks at home. A researcher found that it was possible to hack a secure dispensing cabinet from a web browser, getting it to pump out all the drugs he wanted. "We could do anything," said Tim Elrod of FishNet Security.