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Massive Data Breach Hits HCA: 11 Million Records Compromised

HCA Healthcare, One Park Plaza, Nashville

In what is currently the largest healthcare industry data breach, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) has confirmed the theft of 11 million patient records. HCA, one of the country’s most prominent healthcare providers, believes the breach originated from an external storage system used for email automation.

Breach details: The breach, which took place via a third-party system, is set to have a significant financial impact. According to HCA, the compromised data includes information such as patient names, email addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, gender, patient service data, location, and next appointment dates. HCA has, however, reassured that sensitive data like clinical information, payment details, and other sensitive data are not believed to be part of the breach.

Hackers first made contact with HCA on July 4th, attempting to extort money with a July 10th deadline. Evidence of the breach was provided via a hacking forum where DataBreaches.net later found the data for sale. Despite the pressure, cybersecurity professionals discourage organizations from paying ransoms, as it does not guarantee the return of stolen data and can potentially encourage further criminal activity.

Business impact and response: Despite the considerable scale of the breach, HCA states that the company’s day-to-day operations have remained unaffected. While the full impact of the breach is still under investigation, HCA does not foresee any disruption in patient care or services and does not believe it will affect its business, operations, or financial results. As a response measure, HCA has disabled user access to the compromised storage, reported the incident to law enforcement, and hired a threat intelligence provider and forensic investigator.

The increasing third-party risks: The breach has brought to light the increasing vulnerabilities associated with third-party systems. CIOs and CMOs may perceive systems like the one hacked at HCA as low-risk, often not prioritizing them among those that require stronger governance. With numerous organizations recently impacted by third-party breaches, the call for more guidelines and stronger oversight of such systems is growing louder.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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