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Health care organizations did not consider encryption of its data seriously and are becoming vulnerable. HIPPA breach not only challenges the organization’s Information security but also compromises the patient’s protected health information. Anthem is one of the largest health insurance providers in U.S. This had happened in February 2014 but was identified in February 15. Anthem inc., said that there were about 80 million records that were stolen. It also mentioned that the health and financial information was not compromised. The hacker had stolen only the PII which includes name, date of birth, address, social security number, email and employment information. The state’s insurance commissioners and Anthems internal teams investigated. The investigation report stated that an employee had accessed a phishing email which resulted in downloading malicious file.. Through this the hacker had access to about 50 accounts and 90 systems. They have also identified that the potential attacker is working for a foreign government.
Another such instance is where 28,000 patients were impacted by the breach. The New Jersey Spine Center was affected by ransomware attack, which encrypted electronic health information files and also back up files of its. The spine center’s phone system was also disabled. The data encrypted in the attack included all clinical information and medical data stored in the EHR system as well as demographic data, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and account information. The ransomware was installed on July 27, 2016. By the time it was detected by the organization’s antivirus software the files had been encrypted. New Jersey Spine Center has to pay the attacker’s ransom demand to gain access to their back up files. After payment of the ransom the attackers supplied a functional key to decrypt the locked files. Since, New Jersey Spine Center was not sure if the attackers viewed or stole any data in the attack, they offered the affected patients a year of complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.
The ransomware variant used in the attack was CryptoWall, which was first discovered back in June 2014. CryptoWall encrypts files using a strong 2048-bit RSA key. Unfortunately, no decryptor is available for the latest variant of the ransomware. CryptoWall is primarily spread via spam email. Malicious files are attached to emails which appear as invoices, fax reports, or undelivered package notifications. Opening the email attachment will result in computers being infected. CryptoWall is also known to be spread via malvertising and websites hosting exploit kits. The ransomware attack highlights the importance not only of regularly backing up files, but also disconnecting backup drives once backups have been performed.
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