2016 kept everyone in the healthcare industry on their toes having a record high number of data breaches! Luckily, the number of compromised records dropped drastically in comparison to 2015. However, one trend that was widely recognized was the rise of ransomware attacks. Although not a new method, ransomware is quickly gaining popularity and becoming a huge issue in the cybersecurity world. Read below to see a recap of 2016’s most impactful data breaches!
Top 5 Most Notable Breaches in 2016:
The Dark Net Sale
The largest and probably most notable data breach was released in June. The hacker, who goes by the name of TheDarkLord, listed 4 different databases for sale on TheRealDeal market (a dark net source). The databases were being sold for $100,000, $200,000 $400,000, and $485,000 and included names, birthdates, social security numbers, addresses, cell phone numbers, and medical history. Ransomware attacks can put providers in a tricky situation because even if the ransom is paid, they are not guaranteed to get their information back.
Held at Ransom
The first ransomware attack of the year occurred in February at a hospital in California. The hackers were able to lock the system cutting off access to hospital employees. During this time they had to resort to handwritten documentation and prescriptions instead of any electronic communication. The hospital was forced to pay the hackers 40 bitcoins (a type of digital currency operating independently of a central bank) or $17,000 to regain access. There is no evidence that any records were actually accessed during the lockout, but the hospital still took proper precautions.
The Food Court
Another large breach in 2016 consisted of 3.7 million records stolen from an Arizona health system in August. The hackers were able to gain access to a payment processing system in some food and beverage areas throughout their facilities. The stolen information included names, birthdates, social security numbers, credit card information, and health insurance information.
One of the most unique data breaches of 2016 was linked to a radical right-wing Ukrainian political group. In July, the group posted a screenshot of information that they compromised from a urology group based out of Ohio to Twitter and uploaded half a million records to a Google cloud-based storage area. The information posted included names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, insurance ID’s and diagnoses. When asked the group stated that the motive was political, however, this specific urology group did not have anything to do with the issues.
In August, a company based out of New York that provides ID cards for health plans for big names such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Health Now was involved in a data breach that consisted of almost 3.5 million records compromised. Information accessed consisted of names, dates of birth, ID numbers, dependents’ names and provider names. The hacker was able to gain unauthorized access to a server which held all of the private information.
In December, almost half a million records were subject to exposure not because of a security attack, but rather a semi-truck. In Fort Myers, FL a truck driver, transporting a load of old paper medical records failed to securely lock the door on his truck, causing the medical records to fall from the vehicle and blow around. It took 3 days for officials to find all of the medical records that they could, however, not all were accounted for. There was no evidence that any information had been improperly used so far, but the information exposed consisted of everything from addresses and medical history to social security and financial information.