HCA Healthcare Inc., the largest hospital company in the U.S., revealed that the personal data of around 11 million patients was exposed in an online forum. The breach included information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, and appointment details.
However, sensitive data like clinical records, payment details, passwords, and social security numbers remained unaffected.
The breach at HCA is believed to have occurred due to the theft of externally stored data primarily used for automating email messages. The company has taken immediate action by disabling the tool to prevent further breaches.
Law enforcement has been notified, and an ongoing investigation is underway. HCA has not identified any signs of malicious activity within its networks or operating systems, although the exact number of affected individuals remains uncertain as 27 million rows of data were discovered.
Despite the data breach, HCA confirmed that the incident did not impact hospital operations and does not foresee significant disruptions to its business operations. However, data breaches in the healthcare sector raise concerns for patients and can disrupt vital care delivery systems, especially as cybersecurity threats and ransomware attacks continue to target critical networks.
Protecting patient privacy and maintaining the integrity of healthcare systems are crucial priorities amidst the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.