Integris Health’s Breach—Oklahoma Patients Extorted, Jan. 5th Deadline

  • Jan 04, 2024
Integris Health’s Breach
Image: "INTEGRIS Grove Hospital" by Todd Stogner, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Integris Health is one of Oklahoma’s largest medical networks; they operate hospitals, clinics, and urgent care from their 24 non-profit campuses. Integris commands over 1,800 patient beds across its facilities, with nearly as many physicians. At the end of November, Integris published a notice on their website; not only had cybercriminals breached their security and accessed patient data—the criminals also began extorting their victims. 

How Did the Attack Occur? 

Integris has a data breach notice published on its website. According to it, the attack consisted of suspicious activity within an internal environment, later discovered as an unauthorized actor. The assailants’ tactics for entering Integris’ systems are unknown. However, their actions after the breach are more apparent. They (presumably) leveraged the data they gathered in the event to begin extorting their victims through email. The emails threatened to sell the data online if the victims did not pay the ransom before January 5th, 2024. 

No matter what these emails promise, if they come from cyber criminals, victims cannot trust them; the criminal can turn around and sell the data regardless of whether individuals have paid their demands. Consequently, the victims of this breach must be extraordinarily cautious of their online interactions—and consider investing in identity protection

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen? 

The data stolen in this event varies between individuals but may include names, birthdays, contact data, demographic data, and Social Security Numbers. The criminals have reportedly used this breached data to send extortion threats to individuals. They can push their victims into paying their demands by providing “proof” of concept; they establish authority over their victims by “having” the stolen data within their emails. Their profiteering games aren’t unique, however; the breach of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center had similar aspects—leading to speculation about the cause of both events. 

How Did Integris Health Admit to the Breach? 

The notice published on Integris’ website states the unauthorized party accessed their system around November 28th, 2023. Integris launched an investigation in response, which has not yet concluded. On December 24th, patients began receiving emails with their information displayed. Deadlines for the ransoms are purportedly January 5th—the assailants claim to be selling the “non-protected” data on the dark web after that. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information? 

On Christmas Eve, the assailant emailed patients, requesting a $50 ransom for the “security” of the breached data. If a victim concedes to the demand, they are only exposing more data to their assailant. The exposed information can compromise payment cards, financial accounts, credit accounts, and more when paid. Moreover, since the data is still in the hands of thieves, no one can trust what they may or may not do with it; the only answer for the potential 4.6 million (duplicates possible) victims is immediate action. 

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

First and foremost, those who receive an extortion email must not pay it; their best action is to report it without interacting with it. Afterward, they should take steps to secure their accounts testing their password security and security functions like one-time tokens. They should also invest in monitoring services that alert them to strange activity within their accounts. These services are essential for those personal details that cannot easily be changed, like identity and medical accounts. Now is the time for victims to protect themselves—not by giving in to ransoms—but by taking action.

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