Nebraska Ransomware Attack Impacts Approx 10,000 Patients

by | Dec 27, 2017

Almost 10,000 patients of Columbus Surgery Center, LLC and Eye Physicians, P.C., in Columbus, Nebraska have been impacted by a ransomware attack.

The ransomware attack was carried out on October 7, 2017 and hit a large amount of files on some servers being encrypted by the ransomware. A ransom demand was made by the cyberattackers, although the ransom demand was not paid. The encrypted files were restored using a recent backup to allow services to be continued to be given to patients.

Third-party computer forensics consultants were called in to help with the investigation of the attack to deduce whether the cyber attackers gained access to, viewed, or copied patient data and to examine how access to the servers was gained and how the ransomware was placed there.

The investigation did not find evidence to suggest any patient health information was obtained, but data access could not be eliminated with a high degree of confidence. Due to this, the incident had to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights under HIPAA Rules and alerts to patients were called for. Those notifications have now been sent.

Eye Physicians has revealed that the breach involved data such as names, dates of birth, and ophthalmic imagery, and that no financial data or Social Security numbers were obtained.

Due to the attack, an external IT security consultant was brought in to conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment to find potential vulnerabilities, and hardware and software have been enhanced as a result of that assessment. It is hoped that the improvements to security will help to stop similar incidents from occurring going forward.

According to the breach reports submitted to OCR the hacking incident impacted 7,721 clients of the Columbus Surgery Center and 2,620 clients of Eye Physicians.

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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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