Hackers targeting hospitals and patients is a growing epidemic. Records that include names, birthdates, Social Security numbers and payment information are just some of the things they are stealing. Read our article on why you must pay attention to hospital hacks to see how your life could also be in danger.
A recently discovered massive attack has put the records of millions of patients at risk. I'll tell you which health care provider was hacked, how they discovered it and if you need to be worried.
We've reported on cybercriminals going after hospitals in the past. In fact, one of the most shocking stories we've covered was when a critical care facility in Kentucky had to declare a state of emergency due to a ransomware attack.
Banner Health is the latest health care provider to fall victim to a cyberattack. Close to 3.7 million records of patients, health insurance plan members, cafeteria customers and even doctors were compromised. Banner employees are also likely to be victims of the attacks.
Banner Health detected suspicious activity on its servers in June that led to the discovery of two attacks. Hackers were able to access the records of both patients and payment information of people making purchases in their cafeteria.
Medical records can be worth more to criminals than Social Security numbers and credit card information alone. It's because medical records have unique identifiers that could allow criminals to commit medical identity theft. That opens the door to health insurance fraud.
Banner Health says there are no reports of the stolen information being misused as of yet. They are also offering victims of the cyberattack a free one-year membership to a credit monitoring service.
The health care provider will be mailing notification letters to all of the nearly 4 million people affected. The letters will give the victims details of the cyberattack along with steps they should take to stay protected.
Banner Health is still looking into the attack to see how widespread it actually is. At this point, they don't know how far back the data breach goes. It could affect months or even year's worth of patient records.
Affected consumers are being encouraged to request new debit and credit cards from their financial institutions. They should also keep an eye on bank statements to verify there is no unauthorized activity.