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Email phishing

Colorado-based CCSPA falls victim to email phishing, exposing data of more than 23,000 patients.

On February 1, 2019, Colorado-based Critical Care, Pulmonary & Sleep Associates (CCSPA) reported that the personal data of 23,000 patients was breached because of a phishing attack. The compromised data includes names, dates of service, diagnoses, medical conditions, diagnostic studies, medications, treatment details, addresses, dates of birth, and other treatment information.

What really happened?

On November 23, 2018, CCPSA officials found that unidentified hackers gained access to an employee email account between August 14 and November 23, 2018 and began sending phishing emails to the contacts in the address list. CCPSA officials immediately blocked access to the compromised account to prevent further damage.

Officials consulted a third-party computer forensics firm to investigate the attack and determine the scale of the breach. As a security measure, CCPSA changed the password requirements of the users. Employees also had to complete mandatory security awareness training. CCPSA officials notified law enforcement and regulatory bodies for further investigation.

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