Georgia's Largest Hospital System Announces Data Breach

  • By Steven
  • Dec 20, 2022

Emory Healthcare, a part of Emory University, is Georgia's most significant hospital system. Unfortunately for its patients and employees, it has found itself on the ever-growing list of hospitals victimized by data breaches. Hospitals are a perfect target for hackers and, unfortunately, are often easy ones. Many companies and facilities are behind on cybersecurity protocols and safety procedures. However, recent law alterations have changed how companies set up their security systems, forcing them to be more thorough and cyber-safety-oriented.

How Did the Attack Occur?

According to the EHC website, the data breach resulted from an overstepping employee. "The investigation determined that, from December of 2020 to December of 2021, the now-former EHC employee inappropriately accessed at least 1,600 patient records outside the scope of their job responsibilities." Eight individuals were charged with the crime as of November 30th, 2022.

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

The accessed information included demographic information, names, birthdays, and social security numbers. "EHC found no indication nor was provided with any information by the DOL and DOJ to suggest that any medical histories, tests and laboratory results, diagnosis and treatment plans, or insurance information were involved," reads the company's notice posted on its website. This is very good for the victims, as the hacker gaining access to their medical data would have been detrimental.

How Did EHC Admit to the Breach?

EHC admitted to the breach with notices sent to victims and state Attorney Generals, and it posted one on the system's website. The notices explained the situation and the steps taken to protect the involved individuals.

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

Earlier, we mentioned the express danger of a hacker having medical information, but we still need to explain why. When we talk about hackers, medical data is one of the highest bits of information they can sell. There is a large market for dark web insurance, as well as the former employee using it themselves or "gifting" it to friends and colleagues. As for the information the employee accessed, the combination of birthdays, social security numbers, and names can sell for 60 to 80 dollars on the dark web, depending on the victim's credit. These are the only things that many criminals need for a new identity; think Age of Adeline. She spent the beginning of the movie switching between identities, buying others' names, SSNs, and birthdays.

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?

In our business, we often see people who do not know the ways of cybersecurity – and that's okay. It's not something that most people take the time to learn about because of the common conception of "it won't happen to me," when in reality, it has happened to almost everyone. Even if you weren't affected by this breach, you should look into device and credit monitoring and check your credit report as often as possible, to ensure you're taking all the steps you can.

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