A ransomware attack on Planned Parenthood exposes the personal information of 400,000 patients


The Los Angeles chapter of Planned Parenthood was the target of a ransomware attack in October, according to the health-care organization on Wednesday. Approximately 400,000 patients’ personal information was compromised as a result of the attack.


It was revealed to victims in a breach notification that an unidentified perpetrator had stolen documents from a Planned Parenthood affiliate that contained sensitive information about some patients, such as their insurance information, diagnosis, and procedure or prescription information.


An email from John Erickson, a Planned Parenthood Los Angeles spokesperson, to CNN stated that “law enforcement has been notified of this incident.” “It is regrettable that we do not know who committed the crime, which is not uncommon in these circumstances. We have received no indication that this was a targeted attack, on the other hand.”


Planned Parenthood spokesperson Erickson stated that the incident occurred only at the organization’s Los Angeles location and that there is no evidence that the stolen information was used fraudulently. Erickson declined to comment on whether a ransom demand had been made or on the type of ransomware that had been employed.


The Washington Post was the first to break the story of the incident.


Several significant ransomware attacks have taken place in the last year, including one that targeted and harmed Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest fuel pipelines in the United States of America. In November, Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of the United States Cyber Command and the director of the National Security Agency, stated that the United States government had targeted funding sources for ransomware operatives, the majority of whom are based in Russia and Eastern Europe and have amassed millions by extorting US companies through ransomware attacks.


Despite the enormous toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken on hospitals and other health-care facilities, many cybercriminals have continued to hold the computer systems of such establishments hostage to their will. The number of publicly reported ransomware attacks on health care providers in 2020, according to Allan Liska, senior intelligence analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, was more than 100, which was more than double the number of such attacks in 2019. Cyberattacks on hospital computer networks were among the targets of a wave of cyberattacks in the fall of 2020. The University of Vermont Health Network hospitals were forced to postpone chemotherapy and mammogram appointments after an incident occurred. 

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