The Agency for Health Care Administration in Florida has found that an unauthorized individual obtained access to a single email account due to a member of staff beign tricked by phishing scam.
The member of staff received and responded to the malicious phishing email on November 15, 2017 and shared login credentials that allowed the hacker to remotely access his/her email account and, possibly, the protected health information of up to 30,000 Medicaid subscribers.
The agency found the security violation on November 20 and completed a password reset to prevent further access. The incident was also made known to the agency’s inspector general, who initiated an investigation into the phishing attack. Preliminary results of that investigation were issued late last week.
According to an agency press release released on Friday, the unauthorized person may have partially or fully accessed information including names, Medicaid ID numbers, addresses, dates of birth, diagnoses, medical conditions, and Social Security details. Roughly 6% of those impacted by the incident had either their Medicaid ID or Social Security number accessed.
While data access may have occurred, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has not found any proof to suggest the compromised protected health information has been misused. Since sensitive information has possibly been viewed and stolen, people impacted by the incident have been told to be careful and check their accounts for proof of fraudulent activity. All those affected by the breach have been offered free credit monitoring services for one year.
Before the phishing attack, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration had put in place an ongoing staff training program, although the incident has led to a review of that program and staff have now been retrained on proper security protocols and the dangers of phishing attacks. The agency is may introduce additional security measure to lessen the risk from phishing going forward.