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Data Breach Notification

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Hypertension-Nephrology Associates, P.C. in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, found themselves in the midst of an extortion attack back in February 6, 2024. The discovery of an extortion note on their computer system prompted the Practice to take immediate action by enlisting cybersecurity experts to investigate the situation further. This type of attack involves cybercriminals gaining unauthorized access to sensitive information, such as protected health information (PHI), and then threatening to disclose that information unless a ransom is paid.

The forensic investigation revealed that the cybercriminals had accessed the Practice’s systems containing data on both current and former patients within a specific timeframe between January 20, 2024, and February 6, 2024. During this period, they were able to extract data containing PHI. A thorough review conducted until March 15, 2024, attempted to determine the extent of the compromised PHI. However, due to the inability to ascertain the full scope of the accessed and extracted data, the Practice is treating all PHI as potentially compromised.

The compromised PHI could potentially include sensitive details such as names, dates of birth, diagnosis and treatment information, Social Security numbers, and health insurance identification numbers. Despite this breach, there is no evidence to suggest that any PHI has been misused thus far.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, the Practice has taken significant steps to enhance the security of the information under its care. Alongside cybersecurity experts and external HIPAA counsel, additional security measures have been put in place and are continuously being implemented to ensure the safeguarding of patient information.

In order to inform and support those who may have been affected by this breach, the Practice is in the process of sending notification letters to all potentially impacted individuals, as well as establishing a dedicated call center to address any inquiries. Notification was also provided to relevant regulatory bodies. To further assist those affected, the Practice is offering complimentary credit monitoring services.

Individuals who have questions or concerns regarding this incident are encouraged to reach out by calling 1-888-973-9859, available Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect sensitive information and the proactive steps that organizations must take to address and mitigate any potential threats.

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