Hackers from China Stole Data on 4.5 Million Patients

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Organization, pace and residual practice are all part of keeping a health facility up-to-date on medical information and patient records.

However, a recent report from Community Health Systems found that data on 4.5 million clients was stolen by Chinese hackers from its computer network.

Security groups believe that the hacking group, known as “APT 18,” may have links to the Chinese government, and typically targets companies in the aerospace and defense, construction and engineering, technology, financial services and health care industry.

“They have fairly advanced techniques for breaking into organizations as well as maintaining access for fairly long periods of times without getting detected,” said Charles Carmakal, managing director with fireEye Inc.’s Mandiant forensics unit, who led the investigation of the attack on Community Health in April and June, via NBC News

The stolen information included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and even Social Security numbers of those who were referred or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group within the past five years, according to a regulatory filing. Fortunately, the stolen information did not include medical or clinical information, as well as credit card numbers.

Though a number of recent attacks against U.S. companies had appeared to be random, according to FireEye, officials say they now believe that Chinese hackers are targeting specific corporations to get their hands on valuable intellectual property.

It’s estimated that 206 hospitals in 29 states were affected via the Community Health network.

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