A data breach has compromised personal data belonging to 90,000 patients at The University of Washington Medical Centre and Harborview Medical Centre. Both medical centres are either owned or operated by UW Medicine.
It has been revealed that the data that has been compromised consisted of patient’s names, medical record number, other demographics (which may include address, phone number), dates of service, charge amounts for services received at UW Medicine, Social Security Number or HIC (Medicare) number and date of birth.
It is thought that the malware attack was successful when a UW Medicine employee opened an email that contained malicious software (malware). The malware took control of the computer which had all of this data stored on it. This incident was then detected by UW Medicine staff the following day in which appropriate action was then taken to shut it down.
UW Medicine has now started the process to get in touch with the affected patients by mail. A helpline has also been set up to help reassure and answer any questions that the affected patients may have.
UW Medicine carried out an internal investigation which has led to the belief that the data that was compromised wasn’t specifically targeted.
A statement that was released by UW Medicine claims, “Based on the results of an internal investigation, it is believed that patient information was not sought or targeted.”
News of the data breach has started to reach those who have had their confidential data compromised.
One victim, Patricia Shiras stated, “The delay in letting us know is appalling, if it happened October 2nd why are we just being notified the day after Thanksgiving. The letter indicates that social security numbers and financial information were not compromised. The website, however, specifically includes SSNs. I think my social security number and financial information are compromised and they’re trying to cover it up.”
Susan Phillips who also received a letter notifying her of the data breach stated, “I opened it up and I read this and I just got furious. I don’t have a word for it right now… Waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to do a bulk mailing?”
This latest data breach shows how important it is to have a robust backup solution in place. Hackers are coming up with more sophisticated attacks and therefore the need to continually test and update security measures is vital. This should also be complimented with a robust backup solution to ensure that if any data was deleted or modified, that it can be successfully recovered.
Do you have a robust backup solution in place? Do you think that it’s important to have a robust backup solution in place?