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I just picked up a job for integrating Hushmail's Secure Web Forms into a medical website. The forms will submit patient's (PHI) data to Hushmail's servers, encrypt the data, and then send it to their Hushmail email account. Routing a form is accomplished by simply changing the form action attribute to https://forms.hush.com/webformname.

This seems like it is lacking security to me. For one, the medical site is not using SSL and nowhere in Hushmail's documentation do they mention SSL being necessary on the websites end for a truly secure transmission. Obviously these form submissions need to be HIPAA compliant. It seems to me that any mediocre hacker could capture the packet before it is sent to Hushmail and encrypted.

Is this secure? Would using an iframe of the form be more secure? (it is using SSL) Should I convince them to setup SSL on the site?

I have been trying to read up on HIPAA, but I'm having problems finding anything technical for developers. Any references would be welcomed.

  • Not sure I'm following your question. If your company's site is not using SSL, I doubt you're in HIPPA compliance. I don't see how this has anything to do with Hushmail. What is it about Hushmail secure forms that concerns you specifically? – John Wu Jul 9 '15 at 6:07
  • The company's site does does not host any PHI. However, they want forms set up for patients to be able to submit which will include PHI. For this they chose Hush Secure Forms. What concerns me is the post request for the form and the site not using SSL, however the action attribute of the form is an https to hushmails server. – Jer Jul 10 '15 at 15:04
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If the action attribute of the form has https://, the data will be encrypted before it is sent to the Hush Secure Forms server. So the issue here is not the encryption.

There is however an issue with the fact that the hosting medical site does not use SSL. When an end user views the form, he has no way of knowing whether he is looking at the correct form from the medical site or is instead looking at a form that was rendered by a malicious third party involved in a MITM or phishing attack. The third party could provide a page which looks just like the medical site but perhaps with a different action on the hush form (e.g. https://HackersServerInNigeria.net). In this case their private data would be sent not to a Hush Forms server but a server of the hacker's choosing.

Also, mixing secure and non-secure content on the same page may trigger browser warnings.

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