Stockdale Radiology’s notification may confuse readers

On January 18, the ransomware group known as Maze Team, notified me via email that one of their “partners” (victims) was Stockdale Radiology. They provided me with sample data to prove it. I reported on it without naming the medical center on January 21.

On January 28, I named Stockdale Radiology in a post after Maze Team publicly added them to their site, although at that time, they did not make any data publicly available.

Stockdale Radiology recently submitted its notification to California’s Attorney General’s Office. I read it there and thought it was somewhat confusing or misleading, but didn’t blog about it.  Then I saw a media report that seems to warrant concern about whether the notification might be misleading in some respects.

Here’s what the notification said about what happened:

On January 17, 2020, Stockdale Radiology was the victim of a ransomware attack. We immediately contacted the FBI who arrived at our offices within 30 minutes and are currently investigating the matter. A limited number of files were publicly exposed by the intruder. In addition, on January 29th, based upon our investigation, we determined that some other files were accessible by the unknown intruder but not exposed. You are receiving this letter because your information may have been accessible but was not exposed by the intruder. Again, we are not aware of any misuse of the personal information in your files as a result of this incident.

Now look at what Bill Toulas reported based on what he (understandably) understood the notification to mean (emphasis added by me):

The Stockdale Radiology medical diagnostics and analysis center is circulating notices of a data breach to its patients. As it seems, the company has fallen victim to a ransomware attack on January 17, 2020, with the network intruders managing to access locally stored patient data. This was determined on January 29, 2020, when the internal investigation was concluded, and both the FBI and the California data protection officer were informed immediately. The firm clarifies that, while the data was accessible, there is no indication they have been exposed, misused, or exfiltrated.

Is that what Stockdale Radiology meant when they said the patient’s PHI was “accessible” but “not exposed?”  Are they claiming that Maze Team never accessed the data at all even though Maze Team had claimed to have gotten it all? Or are they claiming that Maze Team accessed it but didn’t publicly display it? What are they really saying?

Maze Team removed the listing and the samples they had dumped. On inquiry by this site, they indicated that they removed the listing and the data because Stockdale Radiology paid them.

 

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