4.5 million patients data stolen in hospital hack

Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals across the United States, has announced that hackers recently broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.

The large data breach puts these people at heightened risk of identity fraud. That allows criminals open bank accounts and credit cards on their behalf, take out loans and ruin personal credit history.

Community Health Systems hired cybersecurity experts at Mandiant to consult on the hack. They have determined the hackers were in China and used high-end, sophisticated malware to launch the attacks sometime in April and June this year.

The FBI said it’s working closely with the hospital network and “committing significant resources and efforts to target, disrupt, dismantle and arrest the perpetrators.”

The hackers stole patient data but did not manage to steal information related to patients’ medical histories, clinical operations or credit cards.

The hospital network said that just before Monday’s announcement, it managed to wipe the hackers’ malware from its computer systems and implemented protections to prevent similar break-ins.

The company plans to offer identity theft protection to the 4.5 million victims of the data breach.

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