News Column

Information from Mary Black patients stolen by cyber attack

August 19, 2014

By Daniel Gross, Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, S.C.



Aug. 19--Patients at Mary Black Health System in Spartanburg have been victims of a cyberattack in which personal information including social security numbers was compromised.

The health system is now working with federal law enforcement authorities to prosecute those responsible for the attack and prevent further breaches of patient information.

No credit cards or medical records were hacked, according to a statement from Mary Black, but the cyberattack did pull names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers from computer databases.

Mary Black's operating company, Community Health Systems Inc., discovered that its computer network was the target of a foreign-based criminal cyberattack in July.

Community Health Systems, Inc. owns, operates or leases 206 hospitals around the country including Mary Black, according to its website. Seven other Community Health Systems hospitals are in South Carolina.

A report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states that the attack has impacted about 4.5 million people who have either received services or been referred to a physician in the health system within the last five years.

The report states the attacker was an "advanced persistent threat" group from China. The malware has since been eradicated from the computer system, according to the report, and the company has put measures in place to protect against future intrusions.

"We take very seriously the security and confidentiality of private patient information, and we sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience to patients," a statement from Mary Black declared.

All patients at Mary Black are being sent letters explaining the cyberattack and are being offered free identity theft protection.

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(c)2014 Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.)

Visit the Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.) at www.GoUpstate.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC)


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