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Around 5,500 patients PHI exposed in phishing attack on the Michigan Medicine


Around 5,500 patients of the Michigan Medicine are getting notified regarding the phishing email campaign, which might have exposed a few of their PHI (Protected Health Information).


In July 2019, employees of the Michigan Medicine were targeted in a huge scale phishing campaign. More than 3,200 employees of Michigan Medicine have received phishing emails having a malicious link, which when clicked directed to a webpage looking like legitimate site requesting the user's email account username and password.


Three employees have responded to this phishing emails and then disclosed their credentials, as a result of which the perpetrator gain access to the email accounts of those employees'. These accounts were then further used for sending more phishing emails. Suspicious activity in this email accounts were detected by Michigan Medicine on 8th, 9th and 12th July of 2019.


As soon as it was discovered by Michigan Medicine that email accounts have been compromised, they were promptly disabled so no more access could happen till the passwords have been changed. In addition, the malicious emails have been deleted from all the employees' email accounts. Also, any employee who has received this malicious email has to mandatorily reset their password.


Two out of those three employees' compromised accounts included emails containing patient information. The emails in the compromised email accounts contains one or more of this information: patient names, addresses, medical record numbers, dates of birth, health insurance information, treatment information, diagnostic information, and, for a few patients, there Social Security number.


No evidence was found that will suggest any patient information has been viewed or copied. But as the data theft can't be ruled out, so notices have been mailed to affected patients or those patients' personal representatives.


Although Michigan Medicine doesn't have any reason to believe that the email accounts have been compromised for obtaining the patient information, but as a matter of precaution, all the affected patients were advised to carefully monitor their accounts along with statements from the insurers for any signs of fraudulent transactions.


Jeanne Strickland, Chief Compliance Officer of Michigan Medicine, said that "patient privacy is extremely important to us, and we take this matter very seriously. Michigan Medicine took steps immediately to investigate this matter and is implementing additional safeguards to reduce risk to our patients and help prevent recurrence ".


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