Local clinics compromised by security breach [Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach :: ]
(Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 18--CRESTVIEW -- Two physician practices owned by the North Okaloosa Medical Center were affected in a much larger cyberattack that took information on more than 4 million patients from Community Health Systems' computer network.
Community Health Systems, which owns the North Okaloosa Medical Center in Crestview and the Santa Rosa Medical Center in Milton, announced Monday their computer network had been compromised, possibly in April and June.
Limited personal identification data belonging to some patients who were seen at North Okaloosa Physician Group and Gateway Medical Clinic during the past five years was compromised during the attack, according to information released by Community Health Systems.
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.
"Right now, our clinics are the only ones that we know of that the patients are affected," said Rachel Neighbors, marketing director for the North Okaloosa Medical Center. "No one from the hospital side (had their data stolen)."
Neighbors said it has not been determined how many local patients have had their data affected by the breach. She added the clinics will notify all of the patients affected and offer them free identify theft protection.
"Anybody who's affected, no matter what the scope, we'll help them get all those things resolved," Neighbors said.
Tomi Galin, senior vice president of marketing for Community Health Systems, confirmed that Santa Rosa Medical Center was one of the facilities targeted by the cyberattack, but did not clarify how many local patients were affected. She added that Community Health Systems would notify those patients by letter and also offer them free identity theft protection.
Community Health Systems believes the intruder was a foreign-based group out of China that was likely looking for intellectual property.
"The intruder has been eradicated" from Community Health's computer systems and applications have been deployed to protect against future attacks, according to a statement.
Community Health is working with federal law enforcement authorities in their investigation and will support prosecution of those responsible for this attack.
Contact Daily News Business Editor Dusty Ricketts at 850-315-4448 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustyRnwfdn.
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