Colorado Mental Health Institute Hit by Phishing Attack

by | Dec 30, 2017

The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo has found that one of its staff members has been tricked by a phishing scam that possibly allowed the attacker to gain access to the protected health information of around 650 patients.

A 449-bed hospital providing inpatient care for patients, the Colorado Mental Health Institute serves patients with pending criminal charges that require competency evaluations, people found by the courts to be incompetent to proceed and those found not guilty of crimes due to insanity.

The phishing attack happened on November 1, 2017. The employee inadvertently released login credentials that meant the attacker accessed to a state-issued computer. Unauthorized activity on the computer was found the next day and access to the device was promptly turned off.

The forensic investigation did not find any proof to suggest the protected health information of patients had been accessed or obtained, although the possibility of unauthorized access and data theft could not be eliminated with complete certainty.

All patients affected by the incident have been alerted of the security violation, as is required by HIPAA regulations. They have been informed that potentially compromised data “could include, but is not limited to name, date of birth, Social Security number, address, phone number, insurance information, admission and discharge dates.”

The phishing attack has lead to the Colorado Mental Health Institute to adapt new technical security measures to stop future phishing attacks. Privacy policies and processes have also been reviewed and updated and staff have received additional training on the dangers posed by phishing. The Colorado Mental Health Institute stated that the person who was tricked by the phishing scam has been dealt with “in accordance with CDHS policy and applicable law.”

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Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy is a highly accomplished journalist and editor with nearly two decades of experience in the field. With expertise in writing and editing content, Patrick has made significant contributions to various publications and organizations. Over the course of his career, Patrick has successfully managed teams of writers, overseeing the production of high-quality content and ensuring its adherence to professional standards. His exceptional leadership skills, combined with his deep understanding of journalistic principles, have allowed him to create cohesive and engaging narratives that resonate with readers. A notable area of specialization for Patrick lies in compliance, particularly in relation to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). He has authored numerous articles delving into the complexities of compliance and its implications for various industries. Patrick's comprehensive understanding of HIPAA regulations has positioned him as a go-to expert, sought after for his insights and expertise in this field. Patrick's bachelors degree is from the University of Limerick and his master's degree in journalism is from Dublin City University. You can contact Patrick through his LinkedIn profile:

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