Posted on September 16, 2021 at 3:46 PM
Reports have revealed that hackers have made away with personal data belonging to around 1.4 million individuals who took Covid-tests. Hospital officials have stated that the data belongs to those who took the tests in 2002 in France.
The hospital officials also added that they had lodged a complaint about the matter with a prosecutor’s office in Paris on Wednesday. The hospital officials stated that they confirmed the matter on September 12, stating that the intrusion took place during the summer season.
Affects Around 1.4 Million People
Details belonging to around 1.4 million people were stolen. These are the people to took the tests in the Paris Ile-de-France region within the middle months of 2020. However, the complaint failed to state the exact dates when the attack happened.
The identities that were stolen include social security numbers and the contact information of people who took part in the tests. Besides the patients, information about healthcare professionals who took part in the testing exercise was also accessed, including their contact details.
The hospital also added that the test results of the patients were also accessed. However, no other health details about the individuals were accessed. The organization also added that those whose details were accessed during the breach would be “notified individually in the coming days.”
The hospital organization also involved law enforcement agencies in the case. The hospital stated that the case details had been sent to the CNIL, the data oversight body in France. The French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) was also investigating the case.
The CNIL has assured the public that it has commenced investigations on the matter. However, it has been clarified that the responsible hackers did gain access to the testing files in the nation. The target of the attackers was the “secure service for sharing files.” These files were in use in September 2020 and were used to transfer information essential to help in contact tracing by several healthcare authorities.
The Ministry of Health has also stated that it was working closely with the AFP and has stated it will file a complaint on the matter to bring “all light is brought to bear on the leak, its consequences, and all the measures needed are taken to prevent a repeat of such an event.”
French Hospitals under Hacking Attacks
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only increased pressure on hospitals in terms of the heightened number of patients, but hospitals are now being forced to enhance their cybersecurity measures.
Some hospitals in France have become victims of major cyber-attacks that have compromised information systems of healthcare organizations that are already dealing with an influx of patients because of the pandemic.
The majority of the cyber-attacks are demanding these hospitals to pay for ransom. Once the ransom has been paid, these attackers resume the systems to normal.
One of the hospitals that have suffered from these kinds of attacks is the Villefranche-sur-Saone. The attack led to the computer and telephone systems of this hospital being compromised. This attack forced the hospital to postpone surgical operations that were scheduled for the next day. The hospital was also forced to refer patients with emergency cases to other healthcare establishments.
A second attack was also experienced in another hospital. Dax, a hospital in Southwestern France, was also affected after its medical, financial and communication systems were compromised. The two incidents prompted the swift action of law enforcement agencies, and an investigation on the matter was launched.
Despite disrupting the normal operations of hospital establishments, patients have not been directly affected by these attacks. However, hospitals have warned that it could affect the normal operations about administering treatment to those who have tested positive for Covis-19.
Because of the critical nature of hospitals, those who have been victims of ransomware attacks have been forced to pay to ensure that patient care is not compromised. This has especially happened in cases where the information and communication systems are comprised that affect the normal running of a hospital.
Proactive healthcare institutions have installed tough cyber security measures that ensure their systems are protected from the surging cases of attacks.
The disease has not only put hospitals under extreme pressure in terms of patient care but has also made them more likely targets of cybercriminals. Some have also liaised with cyber security experts to ensure that patient information is protected from those who might want to compromise it.