FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Local patients are among those who had data compromised in a computer attack of a national hospital corporation.
Officials with Community Health Systems say more than 4.5 million patients had personal data lifted from their computers.
Community Health Systems operates more than 200 hospitals and is the parent corporation of Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne. Officials with Lutheran say limited information was jeopardized from their clinics and doctors offices. The company says personal data including social security numbers, addresses, birthdays and phone numbers were stolen.
It appears the hackers were in China and used high-end, sophisticated malware to launch the attacks sometime in April and June this year.
Locally, Community Health Systems also operates Lutheran Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Dupont Hospital, Bluffton Regional Medical Center, Kosciusko Community Hospital and Defiance, Ohio's Rehab Hospital.
Lutheran officials issued this statement:
Limited personal identification data belonging to some patients who were seen at physician practices and clinics affiliated with Lutheran Health Network over the past five years was transferred out of our organization in a criminal cyber-attack by a foreign-based intruder. The transferred information did not include any medical information or credit card information, but it did include names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and social security numbers.
We take very seriously the security and confidentiality of private patient information and we sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience to patients. Though we have no reason to believe that this data would ever be used, all affected patients are being notified by letter and offered free identity theft protection.
Our organization believes the intruder was a foreign-based group out of China that was likely looking for intellectual property. The intruder used highly sophisticated methods to bypass security systems. The intruder has been eradicated and applications have been deployed to protect against future attacks. We are working with federal law enforcement authorities in their investigation and will support prosecution of those responsible for this attack.
Many American companies and organizations have been victimized by foreign-based cyber intrusions. It is up to the Federal Government to create a national cyber defense that can prevent this type of criminal invasion from happening in the future.