More than four months after phishing attack, AU Medical Center notifies patients and employees

I had this deja vu feeling reading a report by Tom Corwin:

Nearly five months after it happened, AU Medical Center announced that some patients may have had their personal information compromised by an attack on faculty email accounts, the hospital announced today.

 The attack known as phishing, where users unknowingly open up legitimate-seeming but phony emails or links that allow a third party to gain access to their email accounts and personal information, apparently happened to two faculty accounts on April 20-21, according to the hospital and Chief Integrity Officer Jim Rush. An investigation concluded on July 18 that a third-party had unlawfully gained access to the accounts and potentially the information.

Read more on The Augusta Chronicle.

Why the deja vu, you ask? Because in May, I had read an article about a phishing incident at AU Medical Center. That incident had occurred almost one year ago in September, 2016.  The organization did not conclude its investigation of that incident until March 29, and didn’t report it until May 27.  I thought that was waaaaay too long. Now here again we have a long gap between a phishing incident, discovery, and public disclosure by the same entity. And note that this phishing incident reportedly occurred less than one month after the center concluded its investigation of the earlier incident. So while they were working on notifications for the first incident, they were successfully phished again? When exactly did they first notice that they had likely been phished a second time?

Maybe HHS will find their delays in notification lawful, but I think they’re taking too long. It is not okay with me that criminals had patient information since April and patients and employees aren’t getting notified until more than four months later.

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