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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Ransomware Attack Results in Theft of Half a Million Personal Health Records


TechCrunch recently reported a significant cyber incident involving a technology vendor, where their systems were breached. Disturbingly, this breach also resulted in the theft of an enormous half a million personal health records. This incident, which occurred earlier this year, has sparked considerable apprehension regarding data security. Additionally, it also caused worries about the ramifications for both affected individuals and organizations.

Stealing Health Data 

Intellihartx is a Tennessee-based company specializing in patient payment balances and collections management. It has recently made a disconcerting disclosure regarding a breach they experienced. In a notice filed with the Maine attorney general’s office, it was revealed that a targeted cyberattack on Fortra, the vendor associated with Intellihartx, compromised the information of 489,830 patients.

The notice outlined the extensive range of sensitive data that fell into the hands of the hackers. It included patient names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. This theft also poses a severe threat to the affected individuals and their privacy.

Furthermore, the cyber breach resulted in the compromise of not only personal information but also sensitive medical data. Medical billing, insurance details, and confidential records including diagnoses and medication information were among the compromised data.

The seriousness of this incident is accentuated by the fact that Intellihartx is not the sole entity affected by these prominent attacks. Cybercriminals have specifically targeted Fortra’s GoAnywhere file-transfer software, a widely utilized platform for sharing large datasets over the internet.

The cybercriminal group known as Clop has claimed responsibility for exploiting an undisclosed vulnerability in Fortra’s software. This exploit allowed them to breach the networks of over a hundred organizations and companies, causing a widespread impact.

Notable victims of this aggressive cyber campaign include Hatch Bank and Rubrik. The former is a digital financial institution, while the latter is a well-known security firm.

What is a Ransom Attack?

A ransomware attack is a type of malicious cyberattack. It happens when a perpetrator gains unauthorized access to a computer system or network and encrypts the victim’s data, holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. This form of attack has become increasingly prevalent and poses a significant threat to individuals, businesses, and even critical infrastructure.

In a ransomware attack, the attackers typically demand payment in cryptocurrencies or other difficult-to-trace forms of digital currency. Additionally, they often set a deadline for payment and threaten to delete or leak the encrypted data if their demands are not met. This creates a high-pressure situation for the victims. The victims must decide whether to comply with the attackers’ demands or attempt to recover their data through other means.

Individuals may lose personal files, such as photos and documents, that hold sentimental or financial value. For businesses, the impact can be even more severe, leading to operational disruptions, financial losses, and reputational damage. In some cases, critical services like healthcare or emergency response systems can be affected, putting lives at risk.

Preventing ransomware attacks requires a multi-faceted approach. It is crucial to regularly update software and operating systems, as attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated versions. Implementing strong and unique passwords, using two-factor authentication, and training employees on how to recognize and avoid phishing emails or suspicious websites are also essential.

Additionally, organizations should maintain secure backups of their data. They should store it separately from their main network, to facilitate recovery in case of an attack.

Notice of Data Breach

The impact of this breach extends across the healthcare industry, where safeguarding patient information is of utmost importance. The potential consequences are deeply unsettling, as half a million personal health records have now been compromised. The stolen data holds the potential for various malicious exploits, posing significant risks to the privacy and well-being of the affected individuals.

Intellihartx has promptly responded to the breach by fulfilling necessary data breach notifications and initiating a written notification process for those impacted. The notice, issued on June 8, 2023, aims to effectively communicate the incident to the affected individuals, equipping them with crucial information and guidance to mitigate potential harm.

For the latest updates on technology news and  Business insightful tips, you can explore Techmagazines and TheBusiessUp, two reliable sources for tech-related information.


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