The Ullico Inc. subsidiary, Union Labor Life Insurance (ULLI), is alerting more than 87,000 plan members that a portion of their protected health information (PHI) has been exposed due to a staff member responding to a phishing email.
As is often the case in healthcare sector phishing attacks, the phishing email was authentic and appeared to be a genuine request from a business partner. The email included a hyperlink which asked for login details to be entered when clicked. The employee entered the credentials, which were gathered by the hacker and used to remotely access the account.
ULLI had systems in place which alerted the information technology department regarding the unauthorized access. The IT department prevented third-party access to the account within 90 minutes of the account being compromised on April 1, 2019 and disconnected the device from the network. The prompt action greatly restricted the potential for the accessing or theft of protected health information included in emails and email attachments.
ULLI carried out a forensic analysis and determined that access was limited to a single email account on one device. However, that email account was confirmed to hold the PHI of plan members in emails and email attachments.
While the review found no evidence to indicate patient information was accessed or stolen, the possibility could not be eliminated with a sufficiently high degree of certainty.
The protected health information that was possibly compromised was restricted to: Names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and some personal health information of plan members and their family members.
As a precautionary measure, ULLI has taken the decision to offer all impacted individuals 24 months of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.
According to the breach report filed with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, up to 87,400 patients have been impacted by the breach.