Hackers stole medical information of 400,000 people in the US

Sensitive information – including diagnosis, medical procedures and prescriptions for medicines – was stolen from a branch of the “Planned Parenthood” organization, which provides information and medical service on birth issues

Hackers stole sensitive information from 400,000 patients from a branch of Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. The stolen information includes names, addresses, additional identifying details as well as medical information that includes diagnosis, medical procedures and prescriptions for medications. This is a serious invasion of patients’ privacy, and the stolen information can now be used to embarrass them, blackmail them or carry out targeted phishing attacks against them.

A letter sent to patients states that the attack took place between October 9 and 17 and that the only victims are the patients of the Los Angeles branch. The organization said that an unauthorized user was able to infiltrate the organization’s network, install malware and download the files. Following the incident, the branch disconnected the systems from the network, informed the authorities and hired a cyber protection company to assist it in the investigation. It is still unclear if this is a ransomware attack, in which hackers demand money in order to recover the stolen information.

A letter sent to patients read: “Currently, we have no evidence that information related to this incident was used for fraudulent purposes. We have taken and will take further steps to strengthen our security and help maintain our information.” The organization urges patients to check letters and statements from their healthcare providers to make sure they have not been charged for services they have not actually received.
Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization founded in the US in 1916 and aims to provide information and medical services on birth issues. Unfortunately, this is not the first time it has been used as a target for hackers: in 2020 hackers managed to access patient and donor information Hackers posted names and additional information on the network of hundreds of employees in the organization.

The number of cyber attacks jumped during the corona period and continues to grow: In October, the Cyber ​​Defense Company Check Point reported that the number of weekly attacks against organizations and companies worldwide jumped by 40% in 2021 compared to 2020. The health sector is the third most attacked sector, after education and research and the government and defense sector. In Israel, the situation is even more difficult – the weekly number of ransomware attacks has jumped by 65%, a figure that reflects an average of 748 weekly attacks on an organization. The Shirbit insurance company, the dating site for LGBT people atref, Hillel Yaffe Hospital and Bar Ilan University are among the prominent victims of the phenomenon in the past year.

 

By Editor

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