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US Cancer Center Hit: Ransomware Breaches Patient Data

Executive Summary

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in the US has been targeted by a cyberattack. The ransomware group, Hunters International, has claimed responsibility and breached patient data. As a result, patients are getting extortion threats, while the healthcare facility is dealing with the wider consequences of the breach.

This incident once again underscores serious concerns regarding patient safety and confidentiality.

What Happened

The Hunters International ransomware group has targeted the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, claiming to have stolen 533 GB of data, including sensitive patient data. The breach puts sensitive information, including medical history and Social Security numbers, at risk.

On December 11, the cancer centre detected unauthorized activity and swiftly responded to contain the impact.

Consequently, patients are now receiving threatening emails from the group, demanding $50 to remove their sensitive information.

Response from Cancer Center

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center responded promptly to the incident. It is worth mentioning that this nonprofit organisation is the only National Cancer Institute-designated centre in Washington state.

In order to contain the impact, the organisation took its clinical network offline and quarantined servers. However, all clinics remain open, with a focus on prioritising patient safety. The organisation commits to contacting anyone affected by the stolen information and is conducting ongoing forensic assessments.

Ransomware Targeting Healthcare

Recent incidents, such as the one involving Hunters International, highlight an alarming trend of ransomware attacks targeting healthcare organizations.
Compromised patient data and confidentiality force facilities to take drastic measures to mitigate the impact.

Please refer to our news articles for information about recent cyberattacks targeting the healthcare industry and vulnerabilities affecting it. Also, please review the recent security advisory from CISA regarding enhancing cyber resilience in the healthcare sector.

Last but not least, the unethical and alarming escalation of threatening patients worsens the already severe consequences of disrupting healthcare services.

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