UNM Health Data Breach

  • By Steven
  • Published: Aug 12, 2022
  • Last Updated: Aug 12, 2022

The personal information of nearly 700,000 individuals was stolen in a data breach at the University of New Mexico Health. The data breach was revealed in the second half of 2021. Though UNM Health launched an investigation to analyze the incident and prevent similar breaches from occurring in the future, it appears as though the security breach will lead to patient identity theft.

How Did the Attack Occur?

UNM Health officials have admitted that an unauthorized third party accessed the group's network, viewed files, and exfiltrated them away from the system. Those files contained protected patient health information.

What Specific Information was Accessed?

The information accessed in the attack ranges from patients' full names to dates of birth, identification numbers, medical record numbers, healthcare services rendered, and information about health insurance. The breach also likely exposed the Social Security numbers of UNM Health patients to boot. However, the breach did not impact the organization's medical record systems. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

The stolen information will probably end up for sale on the dark web or other unsavory forums where shady characters congregate. Those parties will likely use the stolen data for phishing campaigns and also to steal victims' identities.

How Did UNM Health Respond to the Attack?

UNM Health is connecting with patients whose data might have been compromised in the attack. The company is offering free identity theft protection and credit monitoring to individuals whose social security numbers were revealed during the attack. The organization transmitted notification letters to patients whose information was compromised.

What UNM Health Systems Were Compromised in the Attack?

The UNM health database as a whole was not breached. The hackers accessed specific systems, from the UNM Hospital to the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center and UNM Medical Group.

What is the Timeline of the Attack?

The breach occurred in the spring. However, company officials insist they did not become aware of the attack until early June.

Did the Attack Include Ransomware?

UNM Health has not gone into extensive detail about whether the cybersecurity incident involved ransomware. Nor did the company make mention of how the attack affected patient care. It is possible that the company was compromised by ransomware, paid the requested ransom, and regained full access to its systems. However, if a ransom was paid, UNM Health officials did not reveal it to the public.

How Can Businesses Protect Their Systems and Data Against Similar Attacks?

Businesses are encouraged to bolster their digital safeguards. If you are a business manager, owner, or simply own a computer of your own at home, remain diligent in the context of digital security. Those who have not updated their digital safeguards in recent months are encouraged to do so quickly. Strengthen your cyber defenses with the industry's latest digital security solutions, and you'll be able to work, surf the web, and get the most out of your computing investment without worrying about the ever-changing threat landscape.

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