MI: Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedic and Spine Specialists notifies 28,658 patients of breach

Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedic and Spine Specialists in Michigan recently notified 28,658 patients of a data security incident.  The incident was reported to HHS on March 5 as a Hacking/IT incident. The practice writes, in part:

On January 5, 2021, the Practice became aware that certain limited health information residing on one of its servers was and had been for an unknown period of time vulnerable to viewing by unauthorized third parties. The potentially viewable information included patient name, medical record number, date of birth, sex, and certain information regarding medical images, including the date and time the image was taken, the image number, and the name of the body part that was imaged. The potentially viewable information did NOT include any medical images themselves, other diagnosis or treatment information, health insurance information, Social Security numbers, credit or debit card numbers, or financial account information.

Upon becoming aware of the incident, the Practice immediately launched an investigation and took steps to address the incident and help mitigate any impact on its patients. The Practice identified and closed the vulnerability on the applicable server and reviewed and enhanced its existing security procedures to try to prevent similar incidents in the future. In addition, the Practice has notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights of this incident.

So does that sound like something was misconfigured or there was an unpatched vulnerability?  HOW did they find out on January 5? Did any researcher alert them?  And did their investigation actually determine if there was any access to the data at all?

They note:

Based on the findings of its investigation, the Practice has no evidence of any misuse of any patient health information. However, the Practice has advised potentially affected patients of the incident and to remain vigilant by regularly reviewing their account statements and credit reports and to immediately report to their financial institutions any suspicious activity involving one of their accounts.

Okay, but what, exactly happened and how?

You can read their full notice on their web site. DataBreaches.net sent an email inquiry to them yesterday but has received no reply as yet.

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