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)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

UFC champ Jones booked in connection with hit-and-run crash

Fresh
jonjones

Witnesses say the star fighter ran from a wreck that hospitalized a pregnant woman but quickly came back to grab "a large handful of cash" from the car.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Aveggies: Age of Bon Bon’

Fresh
19-overlay6

A super villain was prepared to destroy all the healthy foods in the world, until some "Sesame Street" heroes stepped up to save the world's vegetables!

in National

10 FOR TODAY: Tuesday, April 28

Fresh
supremecourt

Your daily look at the stories that will be talked about today.

in Local

Ithaca Police arrest three juveniles driving stolen vehicle

Fresh
IPD Car

They face charges including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a weapon.

in National, World

Nepalis dig through quake rubble for survivors, death toll climbs

Fresh
nepalquake

International aid has finally begun arriving in the Himalayan nation of 28 million people, as experts warn the death toll could top 10,000.