One of the biggest hospital groups in US, Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N)., has stated that its database has also fallen victim of a cyber attack - presumably from Chinese hackers. The attack resulted in the theft of personal data and Social Security numbers of 4.5 million patients.
Security experts studying the matter cite that the group of hackers, known as APT 18, may have links to the Chinese government.
According to Charles Carmakal, managing director of the company that investigated the attack on Community Health, The group is typically known to target companies in the engineering, construction, technology, healthcare, aerospace and defense and financial services.
Charles also stated that the group has fairly advanced methods of hacking various systems and staying in there for fairly long periods without getting noticed.
The information stolen from the hospitals’ database contains personal data of patients who were either referred to or the ones who received treatment from doctors affiliated with the hospital. Information such as birth dates, telephone numbers, patient names, their addresses and most importantly, the Social Security numbers, was stolen.
What is different about this hacking from most common types of such attacks is that the group did not try to steal data that has to do with bank accounts of the patients, their credit card numbers, or data about medical device research ort development.
This attack is the largest attack of its kind involving the public health sector, since the tracking of such cyber attacks started in 2009. All these attacks have started posing serious questions about the security of the web in general.