July 27, 2018
Blue Springs Family Care in Missouri has suffered a ransomware attack that has led to the encryption of confidential data.
The attack was noticed by the healthcare supplier’s computer seller on May 12, 2018. An inquiry was started the same day by the computer seller with help provided by an employed third-party computer forensics company.
Contrary to a number of ransomware attacks which involve a single ransomware variation being downloaded and blind file encryption, the attacker succeeded to gain access to Blue Springs Family Care systems and connected a range of malevolent software programs besides the ransomware.
Those malware programs would have given the attacker complete access to all Blue Springs Family Care computer systems, including access to all patients protected health information. At the time of delivering notices to patients, Blue Springs Family Care had not received any reports to indicate that any protected health information was thieved and abused by the attacker. Nevertheless, data access and data theft might not be excluded.
The kinds of information possibly retrieved included full names, disability codes, license numbers of drivers, account numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses, and diagnoses.
The computer forensics business was able to isolate the whole system and avoid any more illegal data access. New software has now been connected which checks for illegal access, as well as a new intrusion avoidance system has also been applied, which includes a new firewall.
Moreover, Blue Springs Family Care is switching over to a new electronic medical record system that encrypts all data at rest to make sure PHI can’t be retrieved in the event that another data break is suffered.
The break report submitted to the Division of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights indicates 44,979 patients were affected by the break.