Medical Services Targeted: Half a Million Records Stolen in May 2023 Cyber Event
Table of Contents
- By Steven
- Jan 10, 2024
Electrostim Medical Services Inc. (EMSI) is a healthcare servicer in Tampa, Florida. They create and disperse home electrical stimulation devices, brace accessories, pain management solutions, and physical rehabilitation tools. They offer a range of products, from wearable, flexible garments to electrotherapy devices for pain relief. EMSI serves over 70,000 patients and employs another 400 from the Tampa Bay area. In May 2023, EMSI officials noticed unusual activity within their systems—the resulting breach exposed the data of over half a million patients.
How Did the Attack Occur?
According to the data breach notice published on the EMSI website, an unauthorized actor breached and accessed their network. Immediately after discovering the threat, EMSI took steps to identify those impacted. No other information about the attack or how the bad actors made it possible is public. However, EMSI’s notice of the event has taken more than six months to reach this conclusion; consequently, it could be that the assailants orchestrated the event with ransomware or altered their access to the information.
What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?
The data stolen in this event contains sensitive information about EMSI patients, although the exposures differ between individuals. EMSI’s notice states the data may include an individual’s name, contact information (phone number, email address, and residential address), insurance details, diagnosis and treatment information, subscriber number, products prescribed, and billed items. EMSI officials have sent notices to those with exposed information—but patients don’t need to wait for a notification to protect themselves.
How Did Electrostim Medical Services Admit to the Breach?
The notice indicates that the assailants entered EMSI’s systems around April 27th, 2023, and remained there until around May 13th, 2023. EMSI presumably discovered the threat on May 13th and began response procedures. They investigated the event and its potential consequences as part of these procedures. Around December 28th, EMSI officials sent a notice to the Department of Health and Human Services. Presumably, officials notified those impacted by the event notices around this time.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
How the assailants plan to use the data stolen in this event is unclear. They could use it to commit online impersonations, fraud, or other online crimes. Victims are at particular risk for medical fraud with this stolen data. Medical fraud functions the same as financial and identity crimes, with criminals assuming another person’s details to obtain services. The difference with medical fraud is that it can become physically harmful; someone with an allergy to certain medications could be put at risk by another person using their data. Consequently, those at risk for medical data misuse must immediately act to protect themselves.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
Those impacted by this event have options to protect themselves. They can start by ordering an Explanation of Benefits from their providers and insurers. If there are discrepancies within the document, they may be the victim of medical fraud. By that same notion, those with leaked account information are at increased risk for financial and identity misuse; consequently, those with account information exposures must invest in medical ID monitoring services. Monitoring companies can alert users to suspicious activities the moment they happen—helping to mitigate consequences and return to normalcy.