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Tennessee Hospital’s EHR Hacked by Cryptocurrency Malware

February 9, 2018
by Heather Landi
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Decatur County General Hospital, a 40-bed hospital located in Parsons, Tennessee, has informed its patients about a security incident in which its electronic medical record (EMR) system was hacked, impacting 24,000 patients’ records.

The hospital posted a letter on its website January 26 alerting patients to an incident that occurred on November 27, 2017 in which hospital officials received a security incident report from its EMR system vendor indicating that unauthorized software had been installed on the server. “The unauthorized software was installed to generate digital currency, more commonly known as ‘cryptocurrency,’” the hospital stated.

Hospital officials began their own investigation into the incident and discovered that an unauthorized individual remotely accessed the server where the EMR system stores patient information in order to install the unauthorized software. The software was installed on the system at least as of September 22, 2017, and the EMR vendor replaced the server and operating about four days later, hospital officials stated.

The hospital also stated that, at this time, there is no evidence that patient information was actually acquired or viewed by an unauthorized individual and officials investigating the incident do not believe that patient health information was targeted. Information contained on the server included demographic information, such as patient names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, clinical information, such as diagnosis and treatment information, and other information such as insurance billing information.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) breach portal indicates that the network server breach impacted 24,000 individuals.

The hospital is now offering online credit monitoring services for one year to affected patients.

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