US Health System Hack Reaches 4.5 million

A major US hospital group is the latest victim of a cyber-attack, resulting in the theft of 4.5 million people's personal data.

The attack which is believed to have originated in China occurred in April and June this year.

The stolen data included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and social security numbers. A security expert has warned the data could be used to steal people's identity.

The firm is in the process of notifying the affected patients and the FBI are currently investigating the breach.

News from the attack follows several warnings from both law enforcement and security experts that medical equipment is at risk from hack attacks, due to poor security measures.

Lamar Bailey, director of security research and development at cybersecurity firm Tripwire, said the fact that medical records and credit card details were not stolen should be of comfort to those affected.

"When financial data is stolen, such as when credit card numbers are stolen from retailers, the retailer and card issuers are hit with the fraudulent charges and the costs for generating new cards.

"But when personal information is stolen - name, address, phone number, birth dates, and social security number - it impacts the person and not a company.

"This is the information needed for identity theft to allow criminals to open accounts in the names of the 4.5 million victims."

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