Orthopaedic Surgeon Group Breached by Vendor Cyberattack; 307k Exposed

  • By Steven
  • Published: Feb 06, 2024
  • Last Updated: Feb 07, 2024

Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons

Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons, P.C. (DMOS) has three clinics throughout Iowa’s capital; they offer comprehensive solutions for ortho-care, from joints to extremities and MRI imaging to outpatient surgery. DMOS utilizes a variety of third-party vendors to serve their patients and the surrounding regions; almost a year ago, DMOS experienced a cybersecurity event through one of these vendors. The unauthorized actors broke into their system and compromised the information of 307,864 individuals.

How Did the Attack Occur? 

DMOS has published a statement about the event via their website, but some details remain uncertain. Details about the attack and how the assailants made it possible are limited. The statement (presumably a preliminary version of the consumer notice) suggests that the attack came from a “vendor failure”; however, no additional details indicate the type of failure or the identity of the victimized vendor. This vendor failure is likely similar to other vendor breaches in the latter half of 2023. Naturally, without additional information, the public is left to speculate. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen? 

According to the published statement, the information compromised in this event is primarily sensitive data. Compromised data may include Social Security Numbers, birthdays, driver’s licenses, passports, bank information (like direct deposit account numbers and payment data), medical data (like diagnosis/treatments), and health insurance credentials (like provider names, group numbers, and claims data) of DMOS patients and associates. The data differs between individuals, but all are at risk for information misuse, mainly because the exposures happened almost a year ago.

How Did Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons Admit to the Breach?

The public statement suggests that the vendor’s breach happened sometime before February 17th, 2023; this is presumable based on DMOS officials discovering suspicious activity within their network that day. The officials presumably responded to the threat and expelled it from the environment before opening an internal investigation. Their review concluded on or around December 6th, 2023, confirming the exfiltration of specific files within the system. Over a month later, around January 22nd, 2024, DMOS officials sent impact notices to the State Attorney Generals and victims.

What Will Become of the Stolen Information? 

The information stolen from DMOS is primarily sensitive; with it in the wrong hands, victims can face identity or financial fraud, whereas others may become physically endangered by medical fraud. Even worse, because the breach happened nearly a year ago, those learning about the event for the first time have unknowingly had their data exposed for months. In that time, cybercriminals could have used it in profiteering schemes, sold on the dark web, or weaponized in fraudulent plots. Victims still have time to launch safeguards to protect themselves and mitigate the consequences of the breach.

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

As with all data breaches, victims should regain their data security by securing their accounts. Every account should have a unique password and username, both ideally created using a password generator. Users should update their contact information, utilizing alternative emails and phone numbers. Security processes must also be implemented wherever possible, with multi-factor authentications and one-time tokens for every device and log in. Additionally, victims must become selective and cautious about the personal details they share online and with strangers; malicious actors could use those same conversations later to breach other organizations or for credential-stuffing attacks. Victims of the breach still have time to protect their information—they just need to act before their data can be misused.

 

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