HCA Healthcare Loses Data for Over 11 Million in Recent Breach
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- By Steven
- Jul 19, 2023
HCA Healthcare is one of the largest health systems in the United States today. The company has millions of patients and manages data for countless hospitals, private practices, specialty offices, and more. With such a substantial volume of healthcare data contained in one location, the information is vulnerable to attack. That's exactly what happened to HCA Healthcare. The company suffered a data attack that left it with substantial losses.
How Did the Attack Occur?
While we don't know the mechanism the hackers used to breach HCA's network, we know the attackers were able to infiltrate an external storage system for the company and make a copy of over 27 million rows of data from a database. That substantial volume of data offers a significant amount of information that could cause problems for many different people. The company didn't realize the cyber attack occurred until after it was finished and the stolen data was posted online, and it is working to make its security more capable of preventing the issue from occurring again.
What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?
Among the patient data stolen in this data breach, there were patient names, birthdays, home addresses, and appointment information. No financial data and little healthcare-related information were taken in the breach either. Patient trust was broken in this breach, though, and this breach is a very real issue for over 11 million separate patients. With so many people involved, there are countless opportunities for hackers to exploit different patients. We suspect that phishing attacks and other issues will occur because of this breach.
How Did HCA Healthcare Admit to the Breach?
A representative from HCA Healthcare spoke with InnovationRX about the incident. The team didn't notice a breach until after company data was posted on the internet to demonstrate the breach had occurred and was likely to demand a ransom for the information. The company will also be sending out individual notices to everyone involved in the breach, informing them what information was taken and providing a bit more detail about how the breach occurred and what the current situation is. The company didn't file an official press release or document with the government for this breach because there wasn't enough personal data lost to the attack to require it.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
It's unlikely too much damage will come from the HCA Healthcare breach if the reported details are accurate. Little variety of information was stolen, and other than launching phishing attacks on the huge number of individuals involved, there is little the hackers can do with the data collected. However, those phishing expeditions could lead to issues like identity theft and credit problems.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
If you learn that your data was involved in this breach, you should watch your financial accounts and monitor your credit. Look for any odd changes and take steps to protect yourself against major issues. This breach doesn't seem like a serious problem, but it impacts more than 11 million people, so it could be a real issue if the attackers find a way to leverage the stolen data.