Nearly 1 Million Community Health Systems Patients Exposed in Data Leak
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- By Steven
- Feb 22, 2023
It's becoming commonplace for large organizations to suffer from ransomware attacks today, and one way that large ransomware gangs are hurting companies is by hitting the secure file transfer services they're relying on. This is what experts believe happened to Community Health Systems. A healthcare provider with 79 hospitals and more than 1,000 sites around the country. The attack could impact more than one million patients.
How Did the Attack Occur?
According to Community Health Systems, its data was compromised through a coordinated attack on the third-party secure file transfer service it uses for patient data. GoAnywhere MFT was hit by a code injection exploit on February 1. The exploit made countless company files available to the hackers responsible, including patient data for as many as 1 million patients in the Community Health Systems network. According to Fortra, LLC, the creator of the GoAnywhere file transfer service, any unpatched software in use is vulnerable to cyber attacks from hackers that know what to look for.
What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?
While Community Health Systems hasn't released specifics about the data that could have been leaked, it's likely that any information included in patient records at its facilities is at risk. For most patients, this would include name, address, phone number, Social Security number, health history, insurance information, medications, and more. All these details could now be in the hands of the attackers. According to Bleepingcomputer - a cybersecurity news platform - the ransomware gang known as Clop claims to be behind the attack and stated it was one attack among 130 the group launched, all involving the file transfer service GoAnywhere.
How Did Community Health Services Admit to the Breach?
On February 13, 2023, Community Health Services filed a report with the SEC about the data breach incident. The company explains how the GoAnywhere file transfer service was involved in this data leak and goes on to say that valuable HIPAA patient data could have been exposed for as many as 1 million patients due to this attack.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
If the information is in the hands of the Clop gang, known for its ransomware attacks, it's likely that all the information will be published online for anyone to access if Community Health Systems doesn't pay the company's demanded ransom. This could put as many as 1 million patients at risk for identity theft and leave them worrying about fraudulent accounts.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
If you receive a notice from Community Health Services, you should take immediate steps to use the Identity theft protection service offered by the company to any individuals known to have been exposed. It's also a good idea to put a freeze on your credit through each of the credit bureaus to protect yourself from any fraudulent accounts being opened in your name. You can place a temporary freeze on your Experian, Transunion, and Equifax credit accounts to preserve your credit history until attackers are no longer attempting to use your information.