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After the Community Health Systems Incident, FBI Issues Another Hacking Warning to Healthcare

August 25, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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After last week's large-scale hack against Franklin, Tenn.-based health system, Community Health Systems, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is sending another warning to healthcare organizations over the threat of increased data breach attacks.

"The FBI has observed malicious actors targeting healthcare related systems, perhaps for the purpose of obtaining Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) and/or Personally Identifiable Information (PII)," the FBI wrote in a warning to healthcare organizations, according to Reuters. "These actors have also been seen targeting multiple companies in the healthcare and medical device industry typically targeting valuable intellectual property, such as medical device and equipment development data,"

The memo is the second such warning the FBI has sent to provider organizations and other healthcare firms. In April, the FBI issued a memo to healthcare organizations that their IT systems and medical devices were at risk for increased attacks from hackers due to lax cybersecurity standards and practices.

The latest warning came in the form of a "Flash" alert, which is sent by the agency to random U.S. companies in various industries to issue warnings over cyber crime threats. They usually contain guidelines to prevent these kinds of hack attacks.

Community Health Systems, one of the nation’s largest operators of general acute care hospitals, has 206 affiliated hospitals in 29 states. Many were affected by the recent breach, which saw hackers steal the data of 4.5 million patients. The attacker, who used highly sophisticated malware and technology to attack the company's systems, was able to bypass Community Health Systems' security measures and to successfully copy and transfer certain data outside the company, it said.

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