Online Pharmacy Alerts 105,000 Patients Concerning Cyberattack and Probable Theft of PHI

The digital pharmacy and health application creator Ravkoo in Auburndale, FL has begun informing selected patients concerning an unauthorized person who accessed and likely stole their sensitive personal information.

Ravkoo makes use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host its online prescription site. The site suffered a cyberattack that was noticed on September 27, 2021. After the knowledge of the data breach, Ravkoo took prompt action to safeguard the website and engaged third-party cybersecurity specialists to aid in the forensic investigation, mitigation, recovery, and remediation initiatives.

The investigation established the compromise of sensitive patient data, which include names, telephone numbers, addresses, a number of prescription details, and limited medical information. Ravkoo explained the affected site didn’t include any Social Security numbers, which are not retained in the impacted portal. The forensic investigation uncovered no proof that suggested the improper use of data stored in the portal.

Ravkoo already submitted the cyberattack report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is helping with the inquiry. Ravkoo likewise has employed forensics professionals to assess the security of its AWS system. Steps are currently being undertaken to strengthen security to avert other data breaches down the road.

The security breach report has been sent to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights stating that approximately 105,000 persons were impacted. Affected people are being given free use of Kroll’s online credit monitoring service as a preventative measure, which consists of access to resolution services in the eventuality of identity theft.

The Intercept’s Micah Lee mentioned in a September 28, 2021 Twitter update that an attacker had taken responsibility for the cyberattack on Ravkoo and stated the patient site was “hilariously easy” to get into and needed the usage of a secret admin website that any user can sign in to and get patient records.

PHI of Anthem Members and Advocate Aurora Health Patients Possibly Exposed

Anthem Inc. has notified 2,003 people that an unauthorized person possibly seen or acquired their protected health information (PHI) after getting access to the network of one of its business associates.

Anthem partners with the insurance broker OneDigital based in Atlanta, GA, which gives assistance for people signed up in group health plans to support them in getting and taking care of their health insurance. OneDigital was provided access to the protected health information of a number of members to guide them or their existing or past employer to get and take care of their medical insurance policy.

On November 24, 2021, OneDigital alerted Anthem concerning a system server hacking incident that took place in January 2021. Anthem stated the incident investigation did not show any direct proof that there was unauthorized access or theft of PHI, however, those activities cannot be eliminated.

The types of data kept on the breached systems consisted of names, birth dates, addresses, healthcare company names, health insurance numbers, group numbers, dates and types of medical care services, medical record numbers, medication data, laboratory test data, payment details, claims data, driver’s license numbers, and Social Security numbers.

Anthem provided the impacted persons with complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for one year. Anthem mentioned it is working together with OneDigital to lessen the chance of the same breaches taking place later on.

Exposure of the PHI of Over 1,700 Advocate Aurora Health Patients Because of Billing Error

The 26-hospital health system located in Illinois, Advocate Aurora Health, has informed over 1,700 individuals concerning the possible breach of some of their PHI.

Approximately on July 29, 2021, the hospital made billing statements and sent them to patients by mail, however, they were unable to reach their destination. The documents included some PHI, for example, patients’ names, the types of services received, dates of service, the name of the medical care provider they went to, and visit account numbers.

Advocate Aurora Health became aware of the billing problem on October 29, 2021. The following investigation showed there was an unintentional alteration to its billing application that was not noticed so that the statements were sent to the incorrect address. Advocate Aurora Health stated it didn’t get any report of actual or attempted improper use of any patient information resulting from the incident, nevertheless patients were advised by mail as a preventative measure and were given free credit monitoring services.

Advocate Aurora Health explained it is changing its internal processes and technical solutions to avert identical breaches down the road. The breach report was sent to the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights as impacting 1,729 persons.

Broward Health Alerts More Than 1.3 Million People Regarding the October 2021 Data Breach

At the beginning of the year, a big breach was announced by Broward Health located in Florida, which has just started informing over 1.3 million patients and workers concerning a data breach that took place on October 15, 2021. A hacker obtained access to the Broward Health system via a third-party healthcare provider’s office that was given access to the Broward Health network for delivering medical services.

Broward Health uncovered and stopped the attack on October 19, 2021, and performed a password reset for all staff members to avert more unauthorized access. With the assistance of a third-party cybersecurity firm, Broward Health carried out a thorough investigation to find out the nature and extent of the breach.

The investigation established that the attacker acquired access to sections of the system where worker and patient data were saved, which include sensitive data: names, addresses, email addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers, financial/bank account details, health insurance data, medical backgrounds, medical problems, treatment and diagnosis details, medical record numbers, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers. Broward Health reported some records were exfiltrated from its networks.

The cyberattack report was sent to the Department of Justice which wanted Broward Health to put off distributing breach notification letters to affected people in order not to obstruct the law enforcement inquiry.

Broward Health took action to boost security and avert the same occurrences down the road, which comprise of using multifactor authentication for all end-users of its network and establishing minimum-security specifications for all devices not maintained by Broward Health’s IT department having network access. Those security prerequisites will be effective this January.

Broward Health did not receive any reports that show patient or staff information was misused, nevertheless as a preventative measure against identity theft and fraud, impacted persons were provided a free two-year membership to the Experian IdentityWorksSM service, consisting of identity theft protection, discovery, and resolution services.

The breach hasn’t shown up on the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights breach website although it was documented with the Maine Attorney General as likely impacting 1,357,879 individuals.

Attorneys General are Also Allowed to Issue HIPAA Violation Fines

Since the HITECH Act (Section 13410(e) (1)) was introduced in February 2009, state attorneys general are authorized to make HIPAA-covered entities responsible for the compromise of the PHI of state locals and may submit civil actions to the federal district courts. In case of HIPAA violations, penalties may be issued as much as $25,000 for each violation category, for every calendar year. The minimum applicable penalty is $100 for every violation.

A covered entity that encountered a data breach impacting residents in several states may be required to pay HIPAA violation penalties to attorneys general in several states. Not many states have issued penalties to HIPAA-regulated entities for violating the HIPAA Regulations. They are California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.

In the past years, attorneys general worked together and issued penalties for HIPAA violations to address big data breaches that have impacted individuals throughout America. They have pooled their resources together and taken a part of any resolutions or civil monetary penalties. Although just a few states have used their authority to require penalties for HIPAA violations, that doesn’t indicate HIPAA violations are not punished. Numerous states issued financial penalties for comparable violations of state regulations.

Are HIPAA Violations Criminal?

If a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate breaks HIPAA Rules, civil penalties may be enforced. If healthcare companies do not comply with the HIPAA, it is normally the employer that gets fined, however not at all times. When healthcare experts knowingly acquire or use protected health information (PHI) for purposes that aren’t allowed by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, they could be criminally accountable for the HIPAA violation based on the criminal enforcement condition of the Administrative Simplification subtitle of HIPAA.

The Department of Justice prosecutes criminal HIPAA violations, particularly those committed by individuals that have intentionally broken HIPAA Rules. There were a number of incidents that have led to large fines and jail sentences.

Criminal HIPAA violations consist of theft of patient data for monetary gain and improper disclosures with the intention to cause damage. Insufficient understanding of HIPAA rules isn’t an acceptable excuse. A person that “knowingly” breaks the HIPAA means the person knew what makes up the offense, not that there’s the absolute knowledge that he or she is breaking HIPAA Rules.

Criminal Penalties for HIPAA Violations

Criminal penalties for HIPAA violations have three distinct tiers with particular terms and an associated fine. A judge decides the penalties according to the facts of every specific case. Like with OCR, various general factors will have an effect on the penalty given. When a person made profits from the PHI access, theft, or disclosure, all money acquired may be returned, besides the payment of a penalty.

There are three tiers of criminal penalties for HIPAA violations. These are as follows:

Tier 1: Reasonable cause or without knowledge of violation – About 1 year in prison

Tier 2: Acquiring PHI under false pretenses – About 5 years in prison

Tier 3: Acquiring PHI for personal profit or with malicious intention – About 10 years in prison

In the past months, there’s been an increase in the number of workers found to be viewing or stealing PHI for different motives. The price of PHI on the black market is high, and this may be a big appeal for several people. It is consequently important that controls are set up to restrict the possibility for people to steal patient information, and to have systems and policies to make sure to identify improper PHI access and theft promptly.

All employees with access to PHI due to their work duties must be educated about the HIPAA criminal penalties and the result of violations, such as loss of job and potentially a long jail sentence and a big penalty.

State attorneys general are going after data theft and penalizing people found to have broken HIPAA Privacy Rules. A jail sentence for stealing HIPAA data is consequently very likely.

Data Breaches Reported by Texas ENT Specialists and Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists P.A. (Texas ENT Specialists) has reported it experienced a cyberattack that was discovered on October 19, 2021.

As soon as the attack was discovered, quick action was undertaken to avoid further access to the network by unauthorized persons. A third-party cybersecurity company was involved to investigate and identify the nature and scope of the cyberattack. The forensic investigation showed that the attackers initially obtained access to its systems on August 9, 2021, and from then on until August 15, they copied and extracted files from its network.

An analysis of those files established they included the protected health information (PHI) of 535,489 individuals, such as names, birth dates, procedure codes, and health record numbers. A subset of people additionally had their Social Security numbers compromised; nevertheless, its electronic medical record system was not affected.

Texas ENT Specialists sent notification letters to affected persons on December 10, 2021. Patients whose Social Security numbers were compromised were given a free membership to Experian’s identity theft monitoring service.

Texas ENT Specialists reported that it has increased its privacy and data security program and has put in place more technical security procedures to better secure and keep an eye on its systems.

Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Experiences Second Funding Portal Breach

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) is informing 4,037 people who tried for Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) financial assistance that their PHI might have been impermissibly exposed. The breach impacted its IFSP Funding Website and took place on October 7, 2021. The breach was noticed in just minutes and the site was promptly taken off the internet to avert continuing unauthorized data access.

In 2019, DBHDS suffered a breach of its IFSP funding webpage that exposed the records of 1,442 persons. In the following 17 months, the internal team and the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA) reviewed the attack and tried to duplicate and fix the problem. Considerable testing of the Portal was carried out, and it was confirmed the Portal was clear to run once again. The newest breach looks a lot like the 2019 occurrence and might likewise have made possible the viewing of information by other individuals.

DBHDS mentioned it won’t make an effort to fix the Portal once more, and an alternate solution may be determined for future IFSP application processes. Persons whose application data were compromised could register for zero-cost credit monitoring services for two years.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Due to October 2021 Ransomware Attack

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA) is confronting a class action lawsuit with regards to a ransomware attack that was uncovered on October 17, 2021. The cyberattack breached the protected health information (PHI) of over 409,759 patients. The notification letters were mailed to the affected people on November 30, 2021, wherein PPLA mentioned the breach of its systems on October 9, 2021. The attackers obtained access to files comprising PHI up to October 17, which is the time they were thrown out from the network.

The records on the impacted systems comprised names, dates of birth, addresses, diagnoses, treatment, and medication details, and certain files were exfiltrated from its system before the encryption of files. PPLA mentioned it didn’t get any proof to suggest patient data has been misused.

A PPLA patient who had his PHI compromised in the security breach has filed a lawsuit regarding the incident. The lawsuit was submitted in the U.S. District Court of Central California and states the patient, as well as class members, were put at impending risk of harm due to the theft of their sensitive health information, which included electronic health records that note the processes conducted by PPLA for instance abortions, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, emergency contraception medications, cancer screening data, other remarkably sensitive health data.

The lawsuit additionally references the time of the ransomware attack, which synchronized with the Supreme Court discussions on abortion, and claims the compromise of data on abortion treatments at this time makes it very likely that patients will experience problems. Aside from experiencing an upcoming danger of harm, affected people are possible to keep experiencing economic and actual hurt and have lost control of their healthcare records. They have likewise suffered out-of-pocket expenditures because of the data breach for example money and time spent securing their accounts, keeping track of identity theft and fraud, and doing something to stop improper use of their personal data. The lead plaintiff claims she has encountered actual harm because of the breach, which includes stress and anxiety, and has furthermore sustained damage and reduction in the value of her personal details.

Though the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is without private cause of action, the lawsuit states PPLA has violated HIPAA by its inability to make certain the privacy of patient information and not enough cybersecurity procedures are set up to avert unauthorized PHI access. The legal action furthermore says that this is the third data breach experienced by PPLA in the last 3 years.

Besides the HIPAA violations, the lawsuit says PPLA likewise breached the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA).

The lawsuit wishes injunctive relief, statutory and compensatory damages, investment in cybersecurity procedures to make sure other breaches don’t happen, and for impacted persons to be given identity theft protection and restoration services and to get an identity theft insurance coverage plan.

Patient Takes Legal Action Against Eskenazi Health Concerning Data Misuse

The protected health information (PHI) of an Eskenazi Health patient was compromised in a ransomware attack on August 2021. The patient is currently taking legal action against the healthcare organization over the data breach.

It is now typical for ransomware gangs to copy sensitive information prior to deploying ransomware for encrypting files. The stolen records are employed to pressure victims to make ransom payments, as was the situation in the cyberattack at Eskenazi Health. Eskenazi Health located in Indianapolis, IN uncovered the attack at the beginning of August and promptly turned off its computer programs so as to stop continuing unauthorized access and limit the attack. The healthcare service provider decided to redirect ambulances and postpone selected consultations as a precautionary measure as its electronic medical record system was not accessible.

As per the data breach investigation, Eskenazi Health’s systems were first compromised in May and the threat actors exfiltrated files that contain sensitive patient data. The issuance of notification letters to affected patients began at the beginning of November. Patients were advised with regards to the data breach and were given free identity theft protection and credit monitoring services. When sending notifications, there were no reports involving the misuse of patient information, even though some patient data were released on the gang’s data leak website. The breach report sent to the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights at the start of October reveals the breach impacted 1,515,918 patients.

Eskenazi Health stated the stolen information involved workers, providers, patients, previous patients, and providers and impacted names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, patient account numbers, health record numbers, diagnoses, clinical data, physicians’ names, insurance details, medications, passport numbers, driver’s license numbers, face images, credit card data, and Social Security numbers.

Terri Ruehl Young, the Eskenazi Health patient, was among the persons affected by the information breach. According to the lawsuit, Young alleges a bogus charge amounting to $370 was placed on the credit card she utilized for settling her bill and her Equifax credit report revealed there was an effort to alter her name.

The lawsuit claims patients put their trust in Eskenazi Health to safeguard its systems and patient data, nevertheless, the healthcare company betrayed that trust by not being able to use advanced security practices and proper safety measures to secure patient information. The lawsuit states unjust enrichment, negligence, and breach of contract.

The lawsuit likewise brings up the amount of time it had taken Eskenazi Health to alert patients regarding the security breach. The lawsuit says that breach notification letters were provided over 6 months right after the first security breach, and 3 months after the finding out of the breach by Exkenaki Health. The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule necessitates the sending of notifications in 60 days after the discovery of a data breach.

Cohen and Malad and John Steinkamp & Associates submitted the lawsuit wanting class-action status and a trial by jury. A Eskenazi Health representative mentioned the lawsuit is not yet officially served.

One Community Health Patients Informed Regarding a Cyberattack and Data Theft in April 2021

One Community Health based in Sacramento, CA has recently informed patients about the compromise of its systems between April 19 and April 20, 2021. It was discovered that an unauthorized individual has acquired access to systems that contain the personal data and protected health information (PHI) of some workers and patients.

A complete forensic inspection was performed by a third-party cybersecurity agency to find out the nature and magnitude of the attack, and One Community Health was alerted on October 6, 2021, that the attacker had exfiltrated files from its network comprising full names and one or more of the following data elements: telephone number, address, other demographic data, email address, date of birth, driver’s license number, Social Security number, insurance details, diagnosis details, and treatment data.

One Community Health began sending breach notification letters to all affected patients on November 22, 2021. There were no reported incidents of identity theft or fraud; nevertheless, complimentary credit monitoring services have been provided to impacted people as a safety measure against identity theft and fraud.

One Community Health stated it has been working with cybersecurity specialists to improve its security against cyberattacks, and has improved endpoint detection, email protection, and has gotten 24/7 managed detection response.

PHI Disclosure Due to Email Error by Eye Care Product Company

Alcon, a manufacturer of eye care products, has learned that an email error led to the disclosure of some patients’ PHI to healthcare organizations not permitted to view the PHI.

On October 5, 2021, Alcon emailed patients’ protected health information to healthcare companies to assist in billing. The emails were meant to just include details concerning each healthcare company’s patients; nonetheless, a technical problem resulted in the emails containing the information of patients of other healthcare organizations.

The emails included some data regarding patients who had lately got an Alcon intraocular lens implant, specifically, first and last names, dates of implant, device serial numbers, and names of treating physicians.

All healthcare companies who acquired the email were called and informed to erase the email and Alcon has evaluated and updated its policies and processes to avoid identical breaches later on. Because of the nature of the data compromised and the entities that obtained the data, Alcon believes no patient information will be used in the wrong way.

Vulnerabilities Found in Philips IntelliBridge, Patient Information Center and Efficia Patient Monitors

Five vulnerabilities were discovered that can impact these medical devices:

the IntelliBridge EC 80 and EC 40 Hub, Efficia CM Series, and Philips Patient Information Center iX Patient Monitors.

IntelliBride EC 40 and EC 80 Hub
Two vulnerabilities were discovered that have an effect on C.00.04 and previous models of the IntelliBridge EC 40 and EC 80 Hub. An unauthorized person could profitably manipulate the vulnerabilities with success and manage to execute software programs, alter system settings, and update/look at files that could contain unidentifiable patient information.

CVE-2021-32993 – The first vulnerability is caused by the usage of hard-coded credentials inside the applications for its own incoming authentication, outgoing communication to exterior components, or the encryption of internal information.

CVE-2021-33017 – The second vulnerability involves a problem with authentication bypass. Although the normal access path of the device demands authentication, another path was found that doesn’t call for authentication.

The two vulnerabilities were given a CVSS v3 severity rating of 8.1 of 10.

Philips hasn’t given a patch to resolve the vulnerabilities, nevertheless wants to resolve the vulnerabilities before the year ends. Meanwhile, Philips suggests simply utilizing the products within Philips authorized descriptions, and merely making use of Philips-permitted application, software arrangement, security configurations, and system services. The products must be physically singled out from the hospital system.

Efficia CM Series and Patient Information Center iX Patient Monitors

Three vulnerabilities were found to impact the Philips Patient Information Center iX and Efficia CM series patient monitors. The vulnerabilities can be exploited to acquire access to patient files and to carry out a denial-of-service attack. Though exploitation has a low attack complexity, the vulnerabilities may basically be exploited by way of an adjacent network.

The vulnerabilities impact the following Philips devices:

  • Efficia CM Series: Revisions A.01 to C.0x and 4.0
  • Patient Information Center iX (PIC iX): Versions B.02, C.02, C.03

Vulnerable models of the PIC iX don’t effectively verify input to decide whether or not the input has the components to be processed carefully and accurately. The vulnerability is tagged as CVE-2021-43548 and was given a CVSS severity rating of 6.5 out of 10.

A hard-coded cryptographic key was utilized which suggests encrypted data can be restored from vulnerable versions of the PIC iX. The vulnerability is monitored as CVE-2021-43552 and was assigned a 6.1 CVSS score.

A broken or risky cryptographic algorithm signifies sensitive records can be exposed in communications between PIC iX and Efficia CM Series patient monitors. The vulnerability is tagged as CVE-2-21-43550 with a CVSS rating of 5.9.

CVE-2021-43548 has been resolved in PIC iX C.03.06 and updates to correct the other two vulnerabilities will be released before 2022 ends.

To decrease the probability for exploitation of the flaws, the products must only be employed as per Philips authorized requirements, which involve physically or logically distancing the gadgets from the hospital’s local area network, and employing a firewall or router that can easily use access control lists restraining access in and out of the patient monitoring network for only important IP addresses and ports.

Philips-introduced hardware has Bitlocker Drive Encryption enabled automatically and this should never be disabled. If disposing of, NIST SP 800-88 media sanitization instructions need to be observed. Patient files are not contained in archives by default, and so in case archives are exported that have patient files, the data must be kept safely with tough access controls.

Patients are Unaware of the Magnitude of Healthcare Cyberattacks and Data Theft

Armis, the unified asset visibility and security platform provider, conducted a recent survey to take a look at the condition of cybersecurity in the healthcare industry and the security risks that healthcare organizations are now facing.

The survey was performed by Censuswide on 400 IT specialists at healthcare companies throughout the U.S., and 2,000 U.S. patients to get their opinions on cybersecurity and data breaches in the healthcare industry.

The survey affirmed the increasing cyber risk, with 85% of respondents claiming cyber risk has grown in the last 12 months. Ransomware gangs have targeted the healthcare sector over the past 12 months, and many of those attacks have been successful. 58% of the surveyed IT experts mentioned their company had encountered a ransomware attack during the past 12 months.

13% of IT security professionals see ransomware attacks as a reason for concern, saying many are confident that they can retrieve data in case of an attack. Nevertheless, data breaches that bring about the loss of patient information were a serious concern, with 52% of IT experts rating data loss as a major problem, with cyberattacks on hospital operations ranked as the main issue by 23% of healthcare IT pros.

Protecting against cyberattacks is growing to be more and more difficult considering the broadening of attack surfaces. Armis says there are now 430 million interconnected healthcare devices globally, and that number will continue to rise. When asked regarding the riskiest systems and devices, building systems including HVAC were the greatest issue with 54% of IT specialists rating them as a serious cybersecurity risk. Imaging machines were considered as among the riskiest by 43% of survey respondents, then medication dispensing equipment (40%), check-in kiosks (39%), and vital sign checking devices (33%). Although there is concern concerning the protection of these systems and medical devices, 95% of IT experts stated they thought their linked devices and systems were patched and operating on the most recent software.

The increase in cyberattacks on the healthcare industry is impacting decisions in healthcare. 75% of IT specialists mentioned recent attacks have had a formidable impact on decision making and 86% of survey participants stated their company had designated a CISO; nevertheless, only 52% of survey respondents reported their firm was allocating more than adequate funding to pay for IT security.

The survey of patients suggested one third had been the target of a healthcare attack, and although nearly half of patients (49%) mentioned they would change healthcare service provider if it suffered a ransomware attack, a lot of patients are not aware of the magnitude of current cyberattacks and how frequently they are currently being reported. In 2018, healthcare data breach reports were submitted at a rate of 1 each day. In the last year, 7 months had data breach reports of more than 2 every day.

In spite of substantial media reports concerning healthcare data breaches and vulnerabilities in medical devices, 61% of potential patients stated they did not hear about any healthcare cyberattacks in the last two years, obviously showing numerous patients are uninformed of the danger of ransomware and other cyberattacks. Nonetheless, patients are aware of the effect those cyberattacks may have, with 73% of prospective patients understanding a cyberattack could impact the quality of medical care they get.

When potential patients were questioned regarding their privacy considerations, 52% mentioned they were concerned that a cyberattack would close down hospital operations and will possibly affect patient care, and 37% stated they were worried about the privacy of information accessible using online portals.

There definitely appears to be trust issues, as just 23% of prospective patients stated they respected their healthcare company with their sensitive personal data. In contrast, 30% stated they relied on their best friend with that data.