Phishing Attack at Baystate Health Potentially Exposes Data of 13K Patients | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Phishing Attack at Baystate Health Potentially Exposes Data of 13K Patients

October 27, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

A phishing scam at Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass. has potentially exposed the personal data of 13,000 patients, according to a privacy statement from the patient care organization and a report from MassLive.

According to the Baystate Health statement, on Aug. 22, Baystate learned that a phishing email had been sent to several of its employees allowing hackers to access some employees’ email accounts. The hacker designed the phishing email to look like an internal Baystate memo to employees.

After an investigation was launched, it was determined that five Baystate employees had responded to the phishing email. It was this that allowed the hackers to gain access to the employees’ email accounts. Some of the emails in those accounts included patient information, and the information in the emails may have included patients’ names and dates of birth, diagnosis, treatment received, medical record number and, in some instances, health insurance identification number. The emails did not contain Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other financial information, and no patient medical records were accessed. Baystate’s electronic medical records (EMR) systems were not affected either, officials stated.

Baystate announced the breach on Oct. 21 by sending letters to those who may have been affected. The organization stated, “Baystate is committed to protecting private information and is taking this matter very seriously. To help prevent a similar event from happening again, we are increasing our employee training about phishing emails.”

Phishing attacks on employees of health systems continue to plague healthcare organizations and as a result, seem to be getting more attention from hospital IT leaders. The 2016 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey, for instance, found that these such attacks are the main motivation for increased cybersecurity focus. What’s more, the survey data showed that the most feared future threats include ransomware (69 percent), advanced persistent threat attacks (61 percent), and phishing attacks (61 percent).

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Analysis: Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Decline in First Half of 2018

In the first half of 2018, ransomware events in major healthcare data breaches diminished substantially compared to the same time period last year, as cyber attackers move on to more profitable activities, such as cryptojacking, according to a new report form cybersecurity firm Cryptonite.

Dignity Health, UCSF Health Partner to Improve the Digital Patient Experience

Dignity Health and UCSF Health are collaborating to develop a digital engagement platform that officials believe will provide information and access to patients when and where they need it as they navigate primary and preventive care, as well as more acute or specialty care.

Report: Digital Health VC Funding Surges to Record $4.9 Billion in 2018

Global venture capital funding for digital health companies in the first half of 2018 was 22 percent higher year-over-year (YoY) with a record $4.9 billion raised in 383 deals compared to the $4 billion in 359 deals in the same time period last year, according to Mercom Capital Group’s latest report.

ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.