HCA Healthcare’s Hacking Catches the Attention of the Department of Health and Human Services
- By Steven
- Oct 05, 2023
HCA Healthcare is a national and international healthcare service provider. Their services span over 180 hospitals and thousands of clinics across 20 states. They also offer services in the United Kingdom called HCA UK. Around the world, more than 290,000 people work for HCA; their payrolls include the staff of surgery and urgent care centers, imaging and physician clinics, and more. Back in July, HCA Healthcare suffered a hack exposing the data of more than 11 million Americans. Now, they’ve caught the interest of the Department of Health and Human Services.
How Did the Attack Occur?
On July 10th, HCA Healthcare published a data security report outlining its recent assault. The attack stole information from an external storage location and then put it online. The details within the storage assisted in formatting emails and sending appointment reminders. We suspect opportunists made the attack possible due to a successful phishing attack or an application vulnerability. If hackers stole your information during the attack, immediate action can help protect you and your family.
What Information was Viewed or Stolen?
It may be challenging to discern what information they stole and to what extent. According to HCA, the information concerned a specific list of data that may have also contained patient details. The information may include a full name, residency, contact information, date of birth, last service location, and upcoming appointment dates. HCA has stated the leaked information did not include clinical, payment, or sensitive details. Although the leaked credentials are equivalent to any search website, no one wants their details available for purchase. Take back control by taking hold of your cybersecurity.
How Did HCA Healthcare Admit to the Breach?
The breach purportedly occurred in late June, with HCA discovering it on or around July 5th. Immediately upon discovery, they isolated contact with the storage and alerted authorities. July 10th, they would make their security report public and, shortly after this, begin sending out notifications. Also called “Substitute Notices,” the letters explain the attack and offer limited solutions. The end of September brought the curiosity of the Department of Health and Human Services, who have likely opened an unbiased investigation. If you or someone you know has received a notice, they must take steps to secure the information.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
Assailants may leverage the credentials in future schemes. The hackers could use the details to influence or impersonate you, phish for more, or conceal the details for ransom. Some malicious actors may purchase the details to commit identity or financial fraud. Others may learn an appointment date to commit medical fraud. Though this attack should prompt patients to be cautious about sharing their information, this may be challenging in medical settings.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
An estimated $300 billion a year vanishes in medical fraud losses. Patients are among those most impacted by these acts, as they may be more likely to fall prey to relationship fraud. Those who have had services completed at an HCA-owned or operated location may have had their details stolen; receiving a notice means it is more of a possibility. The notices are sent on a “rolling” basis, meaning some may get their notice in a few weeks. Before that time comes, take steps to protect your details. Hire an identity and credit monitoring service, and request Explanations of Benefits as often as possible.