Texas Hospital District Data Breach Affects 69 Thousand Patients

  • By Steven
  • Dec 06, 2022

Dallam Hartley Counties Hospital Data Breach

Throughout 2022, we’ve seen a massive uptick in insurance providers, schools, and hospitals becoming victims of data breaches. Some of the more notable would be the Los Angeles Unified School District, Lifespire Services, and CommonSpirit Health. These hacks affected an estimated 2.6 million between them. The Dallam Hartley Counties Hospital District (DHCHD) disclosed a data breach that affected tens of thousands of patients, adding yet another hospital system to the ever-growing victim list.

How Did the Attack Occur?

Reporters have described the breach as occurring when an unauthorized party accessed the hospitals’ internal databases. The hacker only had access to the system for two days and managed to access 69,000 individuals’ files. “DHCHD’s electronic medical record application was not accessed during this incident.”

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

In this breach, like most others, the accessed and stolen data varied by patient. 

  • Social security numbers
  • Full names
  • Demographic information
  • Health insurance information
  • Certain medical information

The notices did not state what type of medical information was involved, only saying it was limited and varied.

How Did DHCHD Admit to the Breach?

The hospital district admitted to the breach through multiple avenues; the victims have all been sent a notification letter, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights received a notification, and DHCHD posted a notice on its website. The statement reads, “DHCHD immediately began an investigation with a third-party forensic firm, took measures to contain the incident, and reported the incident to law enforcement. DHCHD’s investigation determined that an unauthorized actor gained access to its network on September 27, 2022, and was able to acquire a subset of files between September 27, 2022 and September 28, 2022.” 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

Over time, the number of medical records targeted by hackers is rising. This is because it’s a treasure trove of information about you. Your medical information holds your financial information, social security number, past and current addresses, and, in some cases, familial information. One thing often overlooked by victims is that, for some people, our medical data can hold parental details. With this information, it would be exceedingly easy for a hacker to use it to take out a loan or use your bank accounts. We often forget that some of our authentication data for bank accounts or password vaults might be on our medical records.

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

In the aftermath of the breach, it’s always a good idea to invest in some form of cyber self-defense. Whether this means downloading one of the hundreds of device-scanning software titles available, signing up for credit monitoring, using a firewall, or all of the above, you can never take too many steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Even if you weren’t affected by this data breach, we recommend taking these same precautions. This way, you’ll be prepared for any future data incidents.

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