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Computer Virus Scanned Several Alberta Health Records

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has been informed by the Alberta Health Services (AHS) that a virus was present and active on the network of Alberta Health Services in Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), from May 15, 2009 to May 29, 2009, as reported by albertatalks on July 8, 2009.

It is known that the harmful virus is a latest variant of Trojan horse program "Coreflood" that seems friendly, but steals information and send it to another system controlled by a hacker.

Because of the potential damage caused by the harmful virus, AHS recognized two groups who face the biggest risk. Patients whose healthcare information used in Netcare was accessed by a hacker through infected system and employees who used private banking and mail accounts on an infected system.

An AHS spokeswoman, Shannon Evans, claims that the virus operated by capturing intermittent screen shots of infected system. For example, if somebody is looking at a word document, a screen shot of that will be taken and then uploaded to a server outside the network of AHS, as reported by calgaryherald on July 8, 2009.

In other words, whatever is seen on the screen by an employee is rapidly captured by Coreflood and sends it to a server situated outside the network of Heath Services.

Frank Work, Information and Privacy Commissioner, states that AHS reacted to the infection very swiftly. After investigation, each of the 100-150 attacked systems and their logs AHS was able to recognize people whose details were targeted by the virus, as reported by cbc.ca on July 8, 2009.

It is claimed that AHS is now sending letters to 11, 582 people whose details might have been attacked in the two-week attack period during May 2009.

In fact, the Office of Commissioner is still investigating. Frank Work is asking a detailed forensic report on how the attack took place and what actions should be taken to curb future infringes.

However, Frank also recommends the government and people to be careful of such viruses. AHS official says the people should used updated antivirus software.

Related article: Computer Virus Writers Adopt New Strategy

ยป SPAMfighter News - 23-07-2009

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