On June 26, this site reported that a database with almost 397,000 patient records was up for sale on the dark net. I subsequently tentatively identified the entity as Athens Orthopedic Clinic in Georgia, but they never officially confirmed that it was their data, noting only that they were investigating and had only first found out about the breach – a claim that the TheDarkOverlord disputed. They also acknowledged to this site that they had received an extortion demand.
TDO eventually identified AOC as the entity, but AOC has remained publicly silent – until now.
Over the weekend, 500 patients ‘records from Athens Orthopedic Clinic appeared on Pastebin, with a note to their CEO to “pay the fuck up.”
DataBreaches.net contacted AOC to alert them to the paste and to ask for an update on their investigation and response. The following statement, received this evening, can be attributed to a spokesperson from their PR firm:
We’ve been working hard to determine which patients were affected by the
breach and how. That information was confirmed late last week. Since then we’ve been working hard to be sure we have correct addresses and to get a HIPAA patient notice properly prepared. That process continues with printing and mailing starting tomorrow. I understand HHS/OCR posting needs to happen after breach notification is in the patients’ hands.
At the same time as all this was going on, we found out about the Pastebin dumps just before your email (yet remain grateful to your letting us know, as well) and have been trying since early Saturday to get the first removed and then the second one since yesterday.
AOC is working with authorities.
As of just a few minutes ago, we have a toll-free number live at
844-382-9364 for patients who may hear about the breach before they get
our letter, as well as a statement on the AOC website.
The text of their statement on their web site makes no mention of any extortion demand or their response to it, and does not directly name SRS, whose software the hackers had identified as vulnerable (see Update2, below)
Athens Orthopedic Clinic recently experienced a data breach due to an external cyber-attack on our electronic medical records using the credentials of a third-party vendor. Personal information of our current and former patients has been breached, including names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth and telephone numbers, and in some cases diagnoses and partial medical history.
We apologize for the stress and worry this situation may cause our patients and their families. We are committed to keeping patient information safe and assure you we are doing everything possible to retain your trust in our practice. If you are a current or past patient, we advise you to take the following steps:
1. Call the toll-free number of any of the three major credit bureaus (below) to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Equifax: (888)766-0008; www.fraudalerts.equifax.com. General: (800) 685-1111, www.equifax.com, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.
Experian: (888) 397-3742; https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html. General: (888)EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; 475 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.
TransUnion: (800) 680-7289 (888-909-8872 for freeze); http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/fraud-alerts.page; TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000. General: (800) 680-7289; www.transunion.com
2. Order your credit reports. By establishing a fraud alert, you will receive a follow-up letter that will explain how you can receive a free copy of your credit report. When you receive your credit report, examine it closely and look for signs of fraud, such as credit accounts that are not yours, then continue to monitor your credit reports to ensure an imposter has not opened an account with your personal information.
To protect against such breaches in the future, Athens Orthopedic Clinic has retained cyber security experts to investigate and make recommendations for additional improvements to our system, and have begun implementing these recommendations.
You may contact our toll-free telephone number at 844-382-9364 for additional information. As always, our focus remains on patient care and we appreciate your understanding and patience.
UPDATE1: It looks like TheDarkOverlord decided to contact local media and revealed more about their extortion demands.
UPDATE2: Although TDO had informed this journalist that SRS software was vulnerable, that should not be construed as indicating that they were the third-party vendor being referred to in AOC’s statement – or in the statement by the Farmington entity, also released today.
Note that in emails to AOC released on WGAUradio, the hackers make reference to AOC never changing passwords even after they were notified by the hackers of exactly what some of the compromised systems were. That claim bears further investigation and a statement from AOC as to why they did not change passwords. Were they advised not to, for some reason?