Healthcare Data Breaches — 1/3 of Americans Exposed Last Year

While Weekly Industry News editor, Gary Wolcott was writing this story, his computer was attacked by spammers and scammers attempting to get him to log into a site to save his data.

He didn’t fall for it and — as he’s writing this story — the computer is working just fine, and, to his knowledge, none of his vital information has been stolen. At least so far but he’ll be checking with his bank and credit agencies.

It’s the “at least so far” quote from him that is the big concern, and should be yours, too. Here’s why. Last year — 2023 — saw history’s largest number of healthcare breaches.

Translated, that means that 1/3 of us, or one in three, had our health records compromised by cyber criminals. Those providers, and the vendors they use, often paid huge ransoms to get back control of their systems.

How bad is it? The 133 million of us who are victims saw the loss of information that almost always includes Social Security numbers, credit card information and other financial records as well as birth dates, addresses, email addresses and more.

The HIPAA Journal says there were an average of two health care provider attacks per day last year. Those thefts averaged about 500 records each.

It’s a problem that’s growing worse.

United HealthCare’s insurance billing company, Change Healthcare suffered a massive data breach on February 21st. It has caused major problems with health insurance billing, claims filed and left six terabytes of the company’s data banks vulnerable. That data includes healthcare records, patient financial information, Social Security numbers, claims information and other sensitive information.

To satisfy the cybergang ALPHV/Blackcat, United Healthcare paid the criminals $22 million in cryptocurrency.

In the meantime, United Healthcare has taken many of its critical systems offline including the system for prescription drug claims. That means many patients have having to pay out of pocket for their drugs because pharmacists and pharmacies cannot get insurance verification.

Oddly, Blackcat has now turned off its website and many of the criminals associated with the cyber attack outfit claim they haven’t been paid their share of the United Healthcare booty.

Last July HCA Healthcare was hacked and the records of over 11 million people were compromised. It was last year’s largest breach.

The cyber criminals sell that personal information on the dark web, and other places, and help other criminals open up credit and debit card accounts in the name of the victims. It can take years for those victims to clear things up.

Source link: USA TODAY —

Source link: PR Newswire —

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