News

Hackers steal data of millions of hospital patients nationwide

Hackers steal data of millions of hospital patients nationwide

COMMUNITY HEALTH: The stolen information included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of people who were referred for or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group in the last five years, it said in a regulatory filing on Monday. Photo: clipart.com

(Reuters) – Community Health Systems Inc, one of the biggest U.S. hospital groups, said it was the victim of a cyber attack that originated in China, resulting in the theft of personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients in April and June.

The stolen information included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of people who were referred for or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group in the last five years, it said in a regulatory filing on Monday.

Community Health Systems spokeswoman Tomi Galin said the company believes the attack originated from China because federal law enforcement and forensics experts with FireEye Inc unit Mandiant had told it that “the methods and techniques” employed by the hackers were consistent with a particular group of hackers operating in China.

Galin did not identify the group by name or say if it was believed to be linked to the Chinese government.

In May, a U.S. grand jury indicted five Chinese military officers on charges that they hacked into U.S. companies for sensitive manufacturing secrets, the toughest action taken by Washington to address cyber spying to date. China has denied the charges.

Community Health Systems said in the regulatory filing investigators have told it that the Chinese group believed to be behind the attack typically seeks valuable intellectual property, such as medical device and equipment development data, rather than the personal information stolen from the hospital group.

Galin told Reuters that the suspects had not stolen that type of information.

Officials with Mandiant could not immediately be reached for comment. FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell confirmed that the agency was investigating the case, but declined to elaborate.

The company’s filing said that the stolen data did not include credit card numbers, medical or clinical information, though the types of personal information stolen were still covered by the U.S. government’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

The FBI had warned healthcare providers in April that their cybersecurity systems were lax compared with other sectors, making them vulnerable to hackers looking for details that could be used to access bank accounts or obtain prescriptions.

Community Health, which has 206 hospitals in 29 states, said it has removed the malware from its systems and completed other remediation steps. It is now notifying patients and regulatory agencies as required by law.

It also said it is insured against such losses and does not at this time expect a material adverse effect on financial results.

Community Health’s stock was up 48 cents at $51.48 in late-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer, Jim Finkle and Shailesh Kuber; Editing by Joyjeet Das, Lisa Von Ahn, Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)

Latest News

4 hours ago in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Feb. 11

People gather next to tributes placed near a mural of British singer David Bowie by artist Jimmy C, in Brixton, south London, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. Bowie, the other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, nonconformity, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust, died of cancer Sunday aged 69. He was born in Brixton. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

8 hours ago in Albemarle County, Local, Surrounding Counties

Fire Guts Log Cabin Near Dyke

Updated
Greene Logo  112210

A fire has gutted a log cabin in the Dyke area of Greene County.

9 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Board Hears New Horror Stories

Updated
Rio-29 interchange rendering (sent to us from VDOT) 021815

The Albemarle Supervisors hear new horror stories from residents of Woodburn Road.

10 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Matthew Lawyers Have Revised Deadline

Matthew Jesse In Court 092614 (from SAGA)

The defense lawyers for Jesse Matthew have a revised deadline for requesting a change of venue, if they want to go that route.

11 hours ago in Local, Surrounding Counties

Augusta School Bus Crash Injures Kids

Augusta Seal

An Augusta County school bus carrying middle and high school kids crashed Wednesday afternoon in the Fishersville area.