Ransomware Criminals Steal 2.7 Million Records from Emergency Software
Table of Contents
- By Steven
- Dec 26, 2023
ESO Solutions is a primary software developer and analytics platform for emergency and associated services; its programs connect emergency response agencies, fire departments, hospitals, and state response offices. ESO collects and disperses data between the services, giving responders the most complete information. Their vast biometric and patient data collection may have made them a target for cybercrime; at least seven healthcare systems have had data stolen in ESO’s recent ransomware event.
How Did the Attack Occur?
All the published information about the event states the incident was ransomware-based, but not how the attack happened. ESO’s website statement suggests unauthorized actors made the attack, which successfully encrypted ESO systems. They responded by downing their network, isolating the threat. ESO may have complied with some or all of a ransom demand—or have held negotiation meetings concerning it. Regardless of how they responded to the presumed demands, ESO cannot guarantee the data is safe, especially now that it’s in the hands of extortionist cybercriminals.
What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?
The data leveraged in this event is composed of personal information; the variety of data differs between individuals, but the risk level remains high for all victims. The stolen information includes patients’ full names, Social Security Numbers, phone numbers, addresses, medical treatment data, patient account and medical record numbers, diagnosis data, insurance, and claims payer information.
Additionally, the healthcare systems (pg 4) impacted by this event include the Baptist Memorial Health Care System, Community Health Systems, Forrest Health, HCA Healthcare, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport Health System, Providence St. Joseph Health, and Universal Health Services.
How Did ESO Solutions Inc. Admit to the Breach?
According to the breach filing published on the Maine Attorney General’s website, the incident happened around September 17th, 2023. Officials subsequently discovered the malware days later, around September 28th. Their investigations concluded before the end of October—and officials notified preliminary groups starting December 12th.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
ESO may have attempted to appease their assailants, but there’s no way to tell if the criminals are trustworthy. The thieves stole an estimated 2.7 million records from ESO’s systems, including data from patients and minors. Even if the criminals successfully obtained all or partial payment for their deeds, they can still misuse the data. They could become part of the growing number of double extortion plots playing out across the globe. Cybercriminals have been obtaining ransom demands, only to turn around and sell the compromised data online. From the dark web, anyone could misuse the data.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
First, those impacted by this event must secure their accounts; most of the data stolen is not easily changed, so the data owners must secure rather than change the details. They can secure their accounts by updating their passwords and enabling multi-factor authentications wherever possible. They should also review all medical statements from their institutions for inaccuracies or purportedly rendered services. Those with high-risk information from this breach (minors and elders) should also consider account monitoring services; investing in monitoring services helps mitigate data breach consequences by alerting users to suspicious activity. Don’t trust the word of a cybercriminal to keep your exposed data safe—take action to protect it yourself.