Nearly 50,000 AdventHealth Patients Impacted in Yearlong Data Breach

Nearly 50,000 AdventHealth Patients Impacted in Yearlong Data Breach

AdventHealth's system was breached for over a year, impacting 42,000 patients and their data.

Nearly 50,000 AdventHealth Medical Group Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine patents are being notified that their personal and health information was breached for more than a year due to a hack of the Florida provider's systems.

On December 27, 2018, officials of the provider discovered a hacker gained access to the AdventHealth systems beginning in August 2017 — more than 16 months earlier. 

The breached data of 42,000 patients contained troves of personal and health data, including medical histories, insurance carriers, Social Security numbers and some demographic information like names, phone numbers and email addresses. 

AdventHealth said that any patient who's information was made vulnerable will receive a year of free identity monitoring services. The company also said it has since improved its processes to bolder its auditing and system safeguards. 

“While the longstanding focus of attackers has been financial data from retail, e-commerce, and financial services sectors, the untapped trove of personal data are a series of softer targets such as localities, social services, and healthcare," Warren Poschman, senior solutions architect at comforte AG said. "Not only are these systems just as rich with data as the traditional targets but security often lags due to the focus on, in the case of healthcare, patient care over IT."

Poschman said AdventHealth had a series of perimeter and intrusion security measures but none of those security measures ultimately detected a 16-month long breach.

"Similar to Equifax and other long-term breaches, data was accessed and likely exfiltrated because it was stored in the clear or protected by passive means such as volume level encryption or database encryption," Poschman said. "Therein lies the issue – attackers went undetected because the perimeter was breached and once inside there was nothing substantial to stop the attackers from accessing the real target, their patient data. Instead of focusing solely on the perimeter and network levels, healthcare providers are highly advised to implement strong data protection strategies that deal with the eventuality of attackers gaining some level of access to a network – after all, it’s the data that the attackers are after, not the firewalls, servers, and other infrastructure."

Poschman suggests that companies dealing with healthcare data adopt a data-centric security model that allows for the data to be protected as it is acquired and traverses through the organization. If an attacker gains access through the perimeter, then the risk that the actual personal data will be exposed is dramatically reduced, because of this high amount of security.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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