Saint Louis University officials say someone may have accessed protected health information of thousands of people after a possible security breach in early August.
According to school officials, some SLU employees gave out their account information in response to a sophisticated phishing email scam they received on July 25. An investigation revealed someone got unauthorized access to about 20 SLU email accounts containing health information of about 3,000 people.
The email accounts also contained about 200 Social Security numbers.
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The breach affected both employee information and patients’ PHI. SLU did post a notice, although it’s not easy to find:
On August 8, 2013, the University discovered that some SLU employees provided their account information in response to a sophisticated phishing email scam they received on July 25, 2013.
After learning of the incident, the University immediately launched a full-scale investigation. Employees who were targeted by the email scam were notified, and their accounts were secured. While about 10 employees had direct deposit information changed, no unauthorized financial transactions occurred.
It appears that the main target of this scam was the direct deposit information of these employees. However, as the scope of the investigation expanded, the University learned that the incident also resulted in unauthorized access to about 20 SLU email accounts that contained personal health information for approximately 3,000 individuals. This was mostly limited to diagnosis, procedure and medical chart information. The investigation also found that the email accounts contained the names and Social Security numbers of about 200 people. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the unknown party accessed any of the personal information in the emails.
The University is notifying all individuals whose information was in the email accounts affected by the incident. SLU has also notified law enforcement officials and has engaged the services of a global leader in risk mitigation and response.
While there is no evidence to suggest that the unknown party accessed any of the information in the emails, out of an abundance of caution, SLU is providing individuals with information affected by the incident with one year of free continuous credit monitoring and identity theft protection and restoration. Instructions for signing up for these free services are enclosed in the notification letters.