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.


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



Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.