Novant issues data breach warning

August 15, 2022: -Novant Health, a US healthcare provider, is alerting patients of a potential data breach resulting from an erroneous configuration of an online tracking tool from the corporation behind Facebook.

Novant, which serves more than 50 healthcare facilities across North Carolina, expressed it placed a part of JavaScript code on its website as a component of a promotional drive during the early times of the pandemic.

The code was for Meta Pixel, a digital tracking mechanism that associations can use to help them gauge the triumph of Facebook marketing campaigns.

However, the corporation said the tracking pixel was “misconfigured and may have permitted certain private information to be transferred to Meta” from the Novant Health website and patient portal.

In a current privacy statement, Novant Health stated it removed the pixel as soon as it found that it could transmit information to Meta.

Upon further examination, the healthcare provider said that depending on a user’s activity inside the Novant Health website and MyChart portal, the revealed data could contain email address, computer IP address, phone number, and healthcare appointment information.

“The data does not possess Social Security numbers or other financial information unless it was tagged into a free text box by the patient,” Novant expressed.

The company had dispatched letters to “some patients” after discovering the pixel misconfiguration. As per certain news stories and local press reports, more than 1.3 million individuals have been alerted.

Patients at Novant’s New Hanover Regional Medical Center are not affected. The incident, however, may concern other individuals who are not registered Novant Health patients but acquired a Covid-19 vaccine at a Novant facility.

“Depending on our examination, we do not have any evidence that this data was acted on by Meta or any other third party,” expressed Novant.

“We also have executed more structure, governance, and policies around the usage of pixels and promise that we will take appropriate actions to guarantee that this does not transpire again.”