Community Health Systems Reports Data Stolen By Chinese Hackers

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MedicalGroups.com has been reporting for some time now that a security breach on a healthcare system or a medical provider was inevitable. On Monday, Community Health Systems, Inc. (CHS) announced they were the victim of a cyber attack by Chinese hacking group "APT 18" who may have ties to the Chinese government.  The attack led to personal data on 4.5 million people being stolen in April and June.

Reuter's reports "the stolen information included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of people who were referred for or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group in the last five years, it said in a regulatory filing on Monday."

Luckily, CHS believes no information on the clinical or medical side were taken.  Charles Carmakal, managing director with FireEye Inc., CHS's cyber security partner believes neither credit card or medical device information on patients were stolen either.

Jim Finkle and Caroline Humer of Reuters wrote "Chinese hacking groups are known for seeking intellectual property, such as product design, or information that might be of use in business or political negotiations." Industry standards have been extremely low in healthcare for some time now.  It is vital that healthcare providers embrace the new wave of technology that will finally carry it into the 21st century.

Embracing the new technology is important but embracing the security measures that come with these new technologies is just as critical.  The switch to ICD-10 and incentives to reach Meaningful Use requirements continues the momentum on a clinical and efficiency level, but providers need to secure so they aren't easy targets for cybercriminals. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks on Healthcare IT topics as MedicalGroups.com stays at the forefront of the issue.

By: Tommy King
Chief Executive Officer
MedicalGroups.com