Cybersecurity and Hospital Attacks

All is relatively well here at Woesnotgone Meadow, where everyone has above average bandwidth.

In the Meadow, our residents generally are healthy. Occasionally, we have an issue when someone gets sick or hurt. Last May, Jerry slipped on ice and fractured his ankle. When these occur, there may be a brief or longer visit at a healthcare facility. These facilities over the last few years have been a target for attackers, as they attempt to breach their system. One such institution is the Roper St. Francis Healthcare facility.

The Roper St. Francis Healthcare facility is based in Charleston, SC. The healthcare facility was targeted for a phishing attack on a rather large scale. The types of attacks have been relatively steady and popular over the last five years. In this case, there were 13 employee email accounts that were successfully compromised. The successful attack was detected on November 30, 2018. In this case, it is fortunate that the hospital’s operations were not affected. Also, the hospital’s electronic medical records (EMR) were not accessed.

Once detected, the hospital responded quickly. One of the first moves was to block access to corporate accounts. They then began the forensic review. The review noted the compromise was open and active from November 1, 2018, through December 1, 2018. The end date is the day after this was discovered. The hospital also contracted with a third party for a thorough forensic review. The third party in-depth review indicated a number of the compromised email accounts did contain confidential data and information. This data included the patient’s name, medical record numbers, health insurance information, and medical record information. For a portion of these, the patient’s social security number and financial information were also exposed.

The affected patients were notified by mail on January 25, 2019. The hospital also posted a notice on its website on January 29, 2019. The affected patients were offered complimentary credit monitoring services. Internally the healthcare facility is strengthening the email cybersecurity and providing continuing education for this type of attack. These steps are prudent and necessary to prevent, as much as possible, for this to occur again.

This successful attack once again shows the weakest link, in general, is the use. There also needs to be better and regular training to watch for this, along with a more robust defense.

Thanks for visiting Woesnotgone Meadow, where the encryption is strong, and the O/Ss are always using the latest version.

Resources

Balchunas, C. (2019, February 4). Roper st. francis phishing attack: What did hackers get access to? Retrieved from https://abcnews4.com/news/local/roper-st-francis-phishing-attack

Davis, J. (2019, February 4). Roper st. francis, valley professionals phishing attacks breach patient data. Retrieved from https://healthitsecurity.com/news/roper-at-francis-valley-professionals-phishing-attack-breach-patient-data

Dissent. (2019, February 4). SC: Roper st. francis notifying patients after employee fall for phishing attack. Retrieved from https://www.databreaches.net/sc-roper-st-frances-notifying-partients-after-employees-fall-for-phishing-attack/

HIPAA Journal (2019, February 4). 13 accounts compromised in roper st. francis healthcare phishing attack. Retrieved from https://www.hipaajournal.com/13-accounts-compromised-in-roper-st-francs-healthcare-phishing-attack/

Phillips, P. (2019, January 29). Roper st. francis healthcare notifies patients after employee emails compromised. Retrieved from http:///www.live5news.com/2019/01/29/roper-st-frances-healthcare-notifies-patients-after-employee-emials-compromised/

Staff Report. (2019, February 5). Roper st. frances employee emails compromised. Retrieved from https://charlestonbusiness.com/news/health/75936/

About the Author - Charles Parker, II has been working in the info sec field for over a decade, performing pen tests, vulnerability assessments, consulting with small- to medium-sized businesses to mitigate and remediate their issues, and preparing IT and info sec policies and procedures. Mr. Parker’s background includes work in the banking, medical, automotive, and staffing industries.

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