Medical Hack
August 15, 2017 by

Los Angeles Hospital Targeted by Ransomware Attack

The Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Los Angeles has revealed it is the victim of a ransomware attack where attackers could have potentially breached health information of its patients.

In a disclosure, Los Angeles-based Pacific Alliance Medical Center has confirmed it learned of a compromise of its servers on June 14. The medical center shut down its networked computers to avoid a spread of the ransomware malware while turning to its incident and recovery procedures.

An initial forensic investigation by the healthcare provider’s IT team revealed several PAMC computers impacted by the attack before the virus was eventually removed to regain access to encrypted data. However, the healthcare provider’s notice did not reveal details of any ransom payments. Further, investigating officials did not rule out the possibility of any patient data viewed or stolen by the attackers.

The impacted server included records of personal and medical information belonging to patients. Specific information includes names, social security numbers, dates of birth, employment and insurance details, diagnoses, medical images and more. As things stand, there is no evidence to suggest that data was stolen. No financial information was stored in the targeted server.

“We have strengthened our virus detection and other systems and safeguards to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to our systems,” PAMC officials said. “We have also taken other steps to try to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

Hospital officials have since contacted the California Department of Public Health, the California Attorney General, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights and the FBI to consult and inform the authorities of the breach. Still, the breach reporting tool has yet to publicly record the number of patients impacted by the breach. Recent changes to breach reporting guidelines places the burden of proof on providers, ensuring them to determine, with certainty, if hackers were able to access any private data.

As things stand, all PAMC patients are being offered two years worth of free identity theft protection services.

Image credit: Pixabay.

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LIFARS is a digital forensics and cybersecurity intelligence firm based in New York City. LIFARS is ranked as one of the top Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigations companies in 2016 and as one of the top cybersecurity companies in the New York metropolitan area for 2015 on the Cybersecurity 500 – a directory of the hottest and most innovative companies to watch in the cybersecurity industry.

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