Advertisment

Seattle Cancer Center Patients Face Extortion Threats Following Data Breach

author-image
Anthony Raphael
New Update
NULL

Seattle Cancer Center Patients Face Extortion Threats Following Data Breach

Advertisment

Data Breach at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Advertisment

A major cybersecurity incident occurred at the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center on November 19, impacting its clinical network. The breach potentially exposed sensitive patient information, including names, Social Security numbers, and medical history. The unauthorized access by a criminal group outside of the United States has raised serious concerns over the cybersecurity risks associated with health system networks.

Blackmail Threats to Patients

Following the data breach, current and former patients began to receive blackmail emails threatening to sell their personal data. The cybercriminals claimed to have compromised information of over 800,000 patients, with threats to leak the data if a ransom was not paid. The emails demanded $50 to remove the information from the dark web, further intensifying the fear and uncertainty amongst the victims.

Advertisment

Response to the Incident

In response to the incident, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center initiated an ongoing investigation and has been working with federal law enforcement and a forensic security firm. The center also encouraged patients to monitor their bank statements and credit reports for any suspicious activity, and to report any threatening calls or emails to the FBI. The University of Washington has been collaborating with Fred Hutch to assess the situation and provide support to the affected patients.

Advice to Patients

Advertisment

Patient security is of utmost importance, and in light of the current situation, the cancer center has advised recipients of suspicious or threatening calls or emails to report them to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, block the senders, and delete the messages. Importantly, the center has instructed patients not to pay the demanded ransom.

Healthcare Cybersecurity

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the cybersecurity risks associated with the healthcare sector. The data breach at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is just one in a series of recent cyberattacks targeting individual patients and healthcare networks. As such, it underlines the necessity for robust security measures to protect sensitive patient information and the need for constant vigilance from both organizations and individuals in the face of such threats.

Future Measures

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is working diligently with third-party data security specialists to investigate the full impact on patient information. The organization intends to notify affected individuals once the investigation is complete and will continue to take necessary steps to prevent such incidents in the future.

Advertisment
Chat with Dr. Medriva !