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Ransomware attack impacted patients’ data in Puerto Rico


Bayamón Medical Center along with its affiliated the Puerto Rico Women and Children's Hospital becomes victim of a ransomware attack, thus impacting more than 520,000 patients' data.


Bayamón Medical Center as well as Puerto Rico Women and Children's Hospital have discovered on May 21 of this year that their computer systems were infected with ransomware. This ransomware encrypted a large number of files, and thus prevented the staff of hospital from accessing the patient information for some time, according to a press release of July 19, 2019, announcing the attack.


The press release further said that "as a precautionary measure, Bayamon Medical Center y Puerto Rico Women And Children's Hospital (collectively, the "Hospitals") would like to notify the community that the Hospitals faced a recent security incident which potentially involves personal information of the Hospitals' patients". Approximately 522,000 former and current patients were notified about this ransomware attack as precautionary measure.


After learning about this attack, the hospitals conducted the internal investigation so as to determine the extent and source of the attack. The internal investigation confirmed that the patient information was being affected, however no evidence of theft or unauthorized data access was identified.


"As a result of our investigation, the Hospitals believe that the records were simply encrypted and there is currently no indication that the information itself has otherwise been used by any unauthorized individual," the hospitals said.


The information possibly compromised due to this incident contains names, clinical information, demographic information, and financial information. In some of the cases, Social Security numbers, diagnosis information, and dates of birth were also possibly compromised.


Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights has been reported about the ransomware attack as two different breaches incident, possibly impacting 422,496 Bayamón Medical Center patients and 99,943 Puerto Rico Women and Children's Hospital patients.


The ransomware attack resulted in temporary inaccessibility of data, and all the patient information now has been restored without any data loss.


The hospitals are further working with the IT consultants for reviewing their security systems as well as for updating their technical, physical security, and administrative measures so as to avoid such kind of incidents from occurring in the future.


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