Personal health records are some of the most sensitive pieces of data out there. Health care companies handle more than just names, dates and addresses. They handle payment information - credit cards, Social Security numbers and insurance records - and, most worrying, they handle information about your personal health.
Any breach of a health company threatens to expose a lot of personal, and potentially embarrassing information.
Now, the DailyMail.com is reporting that one of the largest clinical laboratories in America may have sprung a major cybersecurity leak.
Temporarily shut down by attempted hack
LabCorp, a Fortune 500 company, was shut down Sunday morning after hackers tried to access the private medical records of millions of people. The firm's tech experts were working to bring the system back online.
For now, LabCorp insists there is no evidence that there was any "unauthorized transfer or misuse of data," a company insider said it could be weeks before the company uncovers the extent of the breach and whether any data was indeed taken by hackers.
Read between the lines here. A major company doesn't shut down operations unless they have to do so.
The insider said, "The only reason for a nationwide shutdown would be in a scenario where there was suspicion of a data intrusion."
LabCorp runs a vast network of labs and patient centers nationwide performing routine and specialty diagnostic testing. The company's most common tests include blood work, urine analysis and HIV tests.
The firm's headquarters is in Burlington, North Carolina, and it operates the National Genetics Institute in Los Angeles, with a wider network of 36 primary labs across the country.
On its website, LabCorp promises to protect the private medical information of its patients.
"LabCorp is committed to the protection of your PHI (protected health information) and will make reasonable efforts to ensure the confidentiality of your PHI... We take this commitment seriously and will work with you to comply with your right to receive certain information under HIPAA," it said.
Last year there were 477 health care data breaches reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the media, affecting more than 5.5 million patient records, according to Protenus, which tracks disclosed breaches impacting the health care industry.
What you need to do from here
If you had any lab work done, check to see who the provider was that did the tests.
If LabCorp offers free account monitoring, consider enrolling. Whatever firm LabCorp uses can't roll back the hack, but they can keep an eye on your information and let you know what to do if something happens.
The firm also states it is required to notify patients of any data breach within 60 days after discovery of the breach.
Until then, watch your medical records for any suspicious activities. Unfortunately, these breaches seem to be on the increase.
Also, breaches like this tend to bring out fakers looking to scare you into revealing more information. Watch your email for any messages offering to fix your health data. Don't click any links - go straight to the company website to find out the truth.
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