Ransomware hackers broke into the Planned Parenthood network and accessed the medical records or other sensitive data of more than 400,000 patients in the reproductive health group.
The disclosure comes from a sample letter posted to the California Attorney General’s website and a press release issued by the organization. Both said that the intrusion and data theft was limited to patients of the Los Angeles branch of Planned Parenthood. Organizers first noticed the hacking and conducted an investigation on October 17th.
“The investigation determined that an unauthorized person was
October 9, 2021 and October 17, 2021, and some files were stolen from our system during this period,” the letter said. It went on to say: “On November 4, 2021, we determined to include you Documents with his name and one or more of the following: address, insurance information, date of birth, and clinical information, such as diagnosis, surgery, and/or prescription information. “
The press release stated that the intruder “installed malware/ransomware and stole some files from its system during this period.” The organization stated that there was no evidence that the stolen data was used for fraudulent purposes. John Erickson, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Family Planning Association, did not respond to questions asking whether the organization can rule out this possibility.
Ransomware has become a scourge against Fortune 500 companies and small non-profit organizations. The criminals behind the attacks often blackmail money, threatening not only to lock the victim’s computer network, but also to leak sensitive data online without paying the ransom. There are no reports of any family planning data being released.
In May, hackers used ransomware to attack the Colonial Pipeline, causing the suspension of gasoline delivery in the southeastern United States. A few weeks later, JBS SA, the world’s largest meat producer, suffered a ransomware attack, which caused the closure of five of the largest JBS beef plants in the United States. A Canadian JBS beef factory was also closed, which processed nearly one-third of the cattle that the country’s federal inspections.
At the same time, non-profit organizations are also threatened by ransomware, with hospitals, homeless shelters, and community groups all targeting targets. Earlier this year, data from the Planned Parenthood Branch of the District of Columbia was also seized for ransom.
News of the latest family planning attack comes as the availability of abortion in many states is threatened by state legislatures. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard an oral argument questioning the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law, which effectively prohibited the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
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