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90,000 Patient Records Exposed in Seattle After Two Hospitals Suffer Malware Attack

Net-security.org reported on 2nd December, 2013 stating that personal information of around 90,000 patients of two Seattle (US) hospitals has been compromised with malware.

Two hospitals breached are University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center are part of UW medicine.

Details of the case revealed that the attack happened when an employee of UW Medicine opened an email attachment on 2nd October, 2013 which contained malware.

According to a statement published by seattletimes.com on 29th November, 2013, Tina Mankowski, Spokeswoman for UW Medicine said "UW Medicine discovered this incident the following day and immediately took measures to prevent any further malicious activity by shutting it down."

It (UW Medicine) said that data about patients may include: names, medical record number or MRN, various other demographics (including addresses, phone numbers), dates of service, amounts charged for services obtained at UW Medicine, SSN (Social Security Number) or HIC (Medicare) number and DOB (date of birth).

UW Medicine has called in the FBI and began notifying the patients affected by the attack in the last week of November 2013 that they may be called in by the FBI in course of its ongoing investigation.

The announcement has taken an estimated 60 days from the day of knowing of the security breach to informing those impacted by direct mail and the notification began on Thanksgiving which is a significant holiday in America.

Infosecurity-magazine.com published a report on 2nd December, 2013 quoting one patient Patricia Shiras as saying that the delay in informing us is terrible. If the incident occurred on 2nd October then why the notification is coming a day after Thanksgiving. The mail highlights that SSN (social security numbers) and financial details were not hijacked but the website especially includes SSNs. Shiras said that he thinks his SSN and monetary information are hijacked and they are trying to conceal it.

Q13fox.com published news in last week of November 2013 quoting an official press release by remorse UW Medicine as "UW medicine is committed to provide quality care and protection of patient's personal information and offers sincere apologies to affected patients for the inconvenience caused to them".

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