WA: 90,000 patients of notified of breach after employee opened an email attachment with malware

You can warn and warn employees about not opening email attachments, but despite your best efforts, they do. And to make matters worse, you were storing Social Security numbers and they weren’t encrypted? 

The University of Washington Medicine posted this announcement on their site yesterday:

November 27, 2013 Seattle — In early October 2013, a UW Medicine employee opened an email attachment that contained malicious software (malware). The malware took control of the computer, which had patient data stored on it. UW Medicine staff discovered this incident the following day and immediately took measures to prevent any further malicious activity.

Based on the results of an internal investigation, it is believed that patient information was not sought or targeted. However, the malware accessed the data files of roughly 90,000 Harborview Medical Center and University of Washington Medical Center patients.

The incident was referred to the FBI, and patients may be contacted by the FBI as part of its investigation. UW Medicine has also implemented a review, training and outreach effort as a result of this incident.

Data about patients may have included: name, medical record number, other demographics (which may include address, phone number), dates of service, charge amounts for services received at UW Medicine, Social Security Number or HIC (Medicare) number, date of birth.

The affected patients will receive direct mail correspondence from UW Medicine. In addition, a vendor (ID Experts) will be managing a call center on behalf of UW Medicine. Beginning November 29th, the call center hours are 6 AM-6 PM Pacific Standard Time, Monday-Friday. The toll-free phone number is 1-877-271-1533, (International callers, please call 503-597-7682).

UW Medicine is committed to providing quality care and protecting patients’ personal information, and sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience and concern this may be for affected patients.

About UW Medicine

UW Medicine?s mission is to improve the health of the public by advancing medical knowledge, providing patient care, and training the next generation of health professionals. Our system includes Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, UW Medical Center, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, UW School of Medicine and Airlift Northwest.

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