FBI Warning Comes True: Healthcare Companies Targeted by Hackers

Reuters recently reported that the FBI issued a “Flash” alert to the healthcare industry about hackers targeting them.  Flash alerts are private notices sent to businesses and not generally public notices.  According to the Reuters report, the Flash Alert warned that, “The FBI has observed malicious actors targeting healthcare related systems, perhaps for the purpose of obtaining Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) and/or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).”

This comes in the wake of Community Health Systems reporting it was the victim of a cyberattack from China, resulting in the breach of PHI of 4.5 million patients.  According to Reuters, the stolen data included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers but not medical information or credit card numbers.

Notably, Community Health is reporting it is insured against such attacks and does not anticipate adverse effects on financial results.  The attack and subsequent warning from the FBI highlight the importance of the healthcare industry prioritizing cybersecurity.  Earlier this year the FBI warned that the healthcare industry was “lax” compared to other industries. Reuters reported that an April 8, 2014 notice from the FBI to the healthcare industry warned that, “The healthcare industry is not as resilient to cyber intrusions compared to the financial and retail sectors, therefore the possibility of increased cyber intrusions is likely.”




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