Health System Victimized by Phishing Attack | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Health System Victimized by Phishing Attack

May 28, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

In what has become an alarming trend, another healthcare organization suffered a major breach in cyber security.  

Beacon Health System, in South Bend, Ind., suffered from what it says was a “sophisticated’ phishing attack from November of 2013 to January of this year. The phishing attack allowed intruders to gain access to Beacon email boxes, which in turn, contained protect health information on an undisclosed amount of patients.

The information in the emails included patient name, doctor's name, internal patient ID number, and patient status. For a smaller amount, it also included Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number, diagnosis, date of service, and treatment and other medical record information.  As per the customary tactic, Beacon is offering a year of free identity and credit monitoring for the affected individuals.

More data breaches are happening because of cyber criminal attacks. Recently, the Austin, Tx.-based Seton Family of Hospitals, part of Ascension health system, acknowledged a phishing attack on its organization that potentially exposed the PHI for approximately 39,000 patients. A few weeks ago, the Ponemon Institute announced that for the first time providers reported that the No. 1 root cause of their data breaches was criminal and malicious attacks, surpassing mistakes and employee negligence.

“Criminal attacks are up 125 percent compared to five years ago” among survey respondents, said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, adding that 45 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed said the root cause of the data breach was a criminal attack and 12 percent said it was due to a malicious insider.




Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.