Urology Austin ransomware attack may have exposed more than 279,000 patient records

Patients were notified March 24 that hackers may have accessed names, dates of birth, addresses, medical information and Social Security numbers.
By Jessica Davis
12:05 PM

A Jan. 22 ransomware attack on Urology Austin, a healthcare provider with locations throughout central Texas, may have exposed 279,633 patient records.

Urology Austin began notifying its patients on March 24 that hackers may have accessed patient records that included names, dates of birth, addresses, medical information and Social Security numbers. Officials said there's a chance this data may have been compromised during the attack.

One interesting aspect is the age of the data stored on the network. One patient told local Austin network KXAN that he almost threw away the notification as he hasn't been a patient of Urology Austin in 20 years.

[Also: Ransomware rising, but where are all the breach reports?]

While officials said it was quickly notified of the breach and shut down the network, the hackers were able to encrypt the data stored on the servers. Urology Austin didn't pay the ransom and restored patient information from backups.

Officials are currently investigating the incident and are taking steps to improve security on the network. Employees were retrained in regards to suspicious emails, privacy and security, which suggests the attack stemmed from an employee responding to an infected email.

Affected patients will receive one year of free credit monitoring and can call the organization's call center with any questions.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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John Fowler deputy information security officer Henry Ford Health System

John Fowler, deputy information security officer at Henry Ford Health System 
(Credit: Henry Ford Health System)

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