Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Stolen Medical Data on the Cheap after Waves of Healthcare Hacks

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Stolen Medical Data on the Cheap after Waves of Healthcare Hacks

Article excerpt

Cybercriminals are selling databases of stolen medical records at a discount perhaps due to a glut of pilfered patient information available on underground web markets, according to a report from Intel Security.

While the report, released Wednesday, underscores the demand for stolen medical records, it also shows how easy it is for criminals to obtain hacked patient information. Medical records, after all, provide digital thieves with a roadmap for stealing someone's identity by including a range of sensitive information that's impossible to change, such as their family medical history.

The research should also serve as a warning for medical providers to better secure patient data and defend their systems against cyberattacks, say experts.

"As a patient, if I trust you with my medical care, I also need to trust you to protect that information," said Raj Samani, chief technology officer at Intel Security. "You have to trust other people at a certain point but at a certain point we do need to ask, 'What are you doing with my data? ' "

On one underground market called the Real Deal, for instance, buyers can purchase information about individuals' insurance companies, Social Security Numbers, and other information for between $14 and $25 per record. A June 2016 report from Dell SecureWorks indicated that individual patient records, known as "fullz" in the underground markets, went for between $15 and $65.

One database of healthcare records stolen from an unknown provider in Atlanta, Ga., purportedly included information on 397,000 patients for 300 bitcoin (about $200,000). The Intel researchers also found databases that claimed to offer records on 210,000 patients from Oklahoma City, Okla,. and 48,000 patients from Farmington, Mo., for 85 bitcoin ($55,000) and 30 bitcoin ($20,000), respectively. …

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