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Hackers Strike Children Hospital Computer System

Akron Children's Hospital has informed federal authorities that its computer system has been hacked and the sensitive information may have been acquired. This hacking comprises two breaches into two different computer databases at the hospital.

The hospital's web site www.akronchildrens.org says that the first database held personal information regarding patients and those who are responsible for their health insurance. Information consisted of names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers. The second breach was targeted at a server keeping information on individuals who have donated to the hospital. This breach is likely to have made available financial information, including some unencoded bank account and routing numbers but not Social Security numbers.

The hospital took time to notify over quarter million patients that its computer system was breached during Labor Day weekend. The hospital did not immediately approach the FBI initially because its security consultants thought that the problem was minor.

Bob Howard, the hospital's director of planning, says that they were unaware of anybody actually affected. They just knew of the possibility. The information was available for the two hackers who got into the system.

However, Jay Foley, who founded Identity Theft Resource Center, says that serious risk exists for those whose personal or other information may have been accessed. Stolen information can be used not just to open bank accounts or new loans in the name of the victims but also to flush the bank funds and freeze accounts.

The two breaches happened in the course of the expansion of the hospital's computer network and communications testing between networked computers. The hospital is sending a letter to individuals about the breach of information and asking them to receive a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. Those individuals who get a letter concerning the breach to the donor database should closely monitor all transactions in their bank account.

The hospital assured by saying that it has investigated and bolstered its security procedures to prevent a repeat of the breaches. A second security company has been hired to implement new procedures.

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