Revealed – extent of privacy breach linked to attack on regional health authority

More than 200,000 files were taken from its network

Revealed – extent of privacy breach linked to attack on regional health authority


By Lyle Adriano

Eastern Health, one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest health authorities, has notified 37,800 individuals that their private information may have been compromised after the province’s healthcare database suffered a cyberattack last fall.

The number of affected individuals – which includes patients, as well as current and former healthcare employees – equates to about one in every 13 people in the province.

Last October, hackers staged a cyberattack against the province’s healthcare systems. According to Eastern Health CEO David Diamond, over 200,000 files were copied from a network drive.

"We expect the number could be large, could be thousands of individuals at the end of the day between staff and patients," Diamond said in a previous statement.

Since the attack, officials have manually combed through the data to identify how much contained personally identifiable information.

Eastern Health has also cautioned in a new email statement that the number of people affected could be even higher.

"All clients who availed of an Eastern Health service at any time were impacted by the resulting breach of their personal health information," the health authority said, adding that its investigation into the matter is continuing.

“This review should give us a better idea of how many people are affected."

The provincial government is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to those affected, CBC News reported. Eastern Health has noted that over 21,000 people have inquired about the services.

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