A hacker is reportedly selling up to 655,000 confidential healthcare records from a slew of organizations from across the US. They contain social security numbers, full names, physical addresses, dates of birth, insurance information and so on.
The hacker, calling himself 'Thedarkoverlord', is looking for buyers for the records he claims he has, with the asking price being around $600,000 for the lot. According to Motherboard, the thirty or so records that the hacker shared with the publication seemed to be legitimate and have clear, though in some cases antiquated, ties to real people.
The hacker claims he has already made a profit of over $100,000 selling a part of these records, though he also boasts that the three healthcare companies that were his victims have been given the option of ransoming back their data. The companies affected remain unnamed, though we know they’re located in Georgia, Missouri and the Central/Midwest US.
This, of course, isn’t the first time that healthcare companies, hospitals and patients finds themselves embroiled in digital troubles. Attacks on hospitals and other healthcare providers are on the rise. Only last year, 80 million Anthem accounts were breached, while more and more healthcare providers end up losing data and money in ransomware attacks.
However, in this case, the hacker did not rely on crypto or ransomware. Instead he claims to have taken advantage of a flaw in the way these companies used Microsoft’s remote desktop protocol, a feat that supposedly required “very precise conditions”. The data itself was reportedly stored in plaintext form so the hacker mostly had to copy and paste it off of the companies' servers.
It’s not clear if the companies or the affected individuals have any recourse right now. One thing is clear though: healthcare companies - which only a few years ago might have considered themselves safe because of their seemingly low-value as a target - now need to scramble to shore up their digital defenses.