Hospital hack exposes more than 2,000 patient records

July 19, 2011 by MassDevice staff

An unguarded Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center computer is hacked by a computer virus that gets away with more than 2,000 patient records before being shut down by hospital staff.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is trying to make up for the exposure of more than 2,000 patients' personal information that was hacked from a hospital computer.

The hospital told reporters that a computer repair vendor, who remains unnamed, failed to restore the computer's security settings after servicing the machine. The computer was later found to have contracted a virus that snagged patient files and sent them to an unknown recipient.

The virus accessed patient medical record numbers, names, genders, birthdates and data on radiology procedures that the patients had undergone. No social security information or financial data was stored on the computer, the Boston Globe's boston.com reported.

The hospital is offering all affected patients a free one-year subscription to an identity-theft protection service.

"We are grateful no Social Security numbers or financial information were released, and apologize for the inconvenience and deeply regret any concern this situation may cause," said John Halamka, the hospital's chief information officer and author of the Life as a Healthcare CIO blog.

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