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Patients of SDC informed about PHI Exposure due to Email Account Hacking of an Employee


Members of the Superior Dental Care (SDC) are getting notified by SDC about a hack on their employee email account, which possibly breaches their personal data. SDC is a dental insurance provider based in Centerville. Centerville is a city in Greene and Montgomery counties in the Ohio state of U.S.


The Ohio-based SDC has discovered that access to the email account of an employee was gained by an unauthorized individual, who possibly viewed or acquired some members' PHI (Protected Health Information). The breach of email account was first detected by the Superior Dental Care officials on Jan. 23, 2019, following identification of the suspicious activity on email account of one employee. That email account was secured promptly by immediately changing the password for that account, and thus further unauthorized access to that email account was prevented.


An investigation has been launched with help of the third-party computer forensics team, in order to determine nature as well as scope of this email account breach incident. On Feb. 11, 2019, the investigators have informed the Superior Dental Care that an unidentified third-party has accessed the email account. They further said that the unauthorized access occurred for the first-time on Dec. 21, 2018, and the email account hack goes undetected for more than a month.


That compromised email account contains information such as patient names, addresses, payment information and medical information related to the dental services received, as well as Social Security numbers. Consequently, the hacker had access to all these patient data.


All individuals who were impacted by this email account breach have already been sent breach notification letters via mail. Besides, the security breach has also been reported to the appropriate authorities.


Necessary processes have been implemented already by the Superior Dental Care to strengthen the system security, and the officials said that the Ohio-based SDC will also continue to work with the third-party security experts in order to better protect the members' personal information.


The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights in its breach portal indicates that 38,260 patients have been affected by this security breach.


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