Breach Brief: UCLA Health data breach may affect 4.5 million people

Hackers have gained access into the network of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and three other hospitals.

A cyber attack on the UCLA Health system may have exposed the information of as many as 4.5 million people, officials say.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)

What information was breached? During the breach, which was announced Friday, the attackers accessed parts of the computer network that contain personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, medical record numbers, Medicare and health plan IDs, as well as some medical information like conditions, medications, procedures, and test results.

How many were affected? At this time, it is believed that as many as 4.5 million patients may have been affected across the network, which includes Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and three other hospitals.

When did it occur? Suspicious activity was first detected in the network last October, prompting an investigation assisted by the FBI. Based on the investigation, it appears that the attackers may have even had access to these parts of the system as early as September 2014. It was only on May 5, 2015 that UCLA Health discovered that the part of the network in question had, in fact, been accessed.

What they’re saying: “At this time, there is no evidence that the attacker actually accessed or acquired individuals’ personal or medical information. Because UCLA Health cannot conclusively rule out the possibility that the attackers may have accessed this information, however, individuals whose information was stored on the affected parts of the network are in the process of being notified,” the healthcare provider wrote in a statement.

The latest incident demonstrates that healthcare is among one of the top industries at risk of being targeted by cyber criminals, raising concerns over the safeguarding of electronic medical records and other sensitive data. This attack comes on the heels of several other breaches, namely Anthem which had impacted80 million Americans earlier this year. With the number of breaches on the rise and no apparent end in sight, how can you ensure that your network is protected?

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