With the increasing importance of interconnectivity, it is essential for business to invest in cybersecurity. As more organizations
take headlines for data breaches from hackers, cybersecurity has become one of the most vital forms of asset protection. UCLA Health was reminded of this fact after hackers broke into their computer systems to access medical records for over 4.5 million people across four hospitals and 150 offices(link is external). The cyber attack on UCLA Health’s massive computer network was just one of many healthcare organizations that were hacked recently, including 80 million medical records accessed in Anthem’s database.
UCLA Health’s access problems
Hackers were able to gain access to the names, medical information, Social Security numbers, Medicare numbers, health plan IDs and physical addresses in UCLA Health’s computer systems. Perhaps more alarming was the fact that UCLA Health announced the extent of the breach two months after the event. In a statement, UCLA Health claimed that they were unaware that hackers had accessed personal and medical records in their network. Then the organization received network alarms one month later, which prompted the organization to seek out the FBI for an investigation.
According to an interview with CNNMoney(link is external), UCLA Health representative Tod Tamberg explained that the organization waited to make the announcement until the technical issues surrounding the event were identified.
The organization seeks a solution
The plan going forward is for UCLA Health to notify all staff members and visitors that their information may have been stolen at any of their hospital and office facilities throughout southern California. Upon notification, the hospital group will also offer one year of identity theft recovery services. However, the organization is still uncertain as to how the hackers gained entry into their systems, or if they harvested any of the personal or medical records they found. Similarly, the FBI released a statement that explained the nature and scope of the incident is yet to be determined.
Although in the interim, Dr. James Atkinson, the UCLA Hospital System’s president released a public apology. In the statement though, he claimed that the organization’s massive computer network is under “near-constant attack” by hackers, and that the hospital group has been successful in preventing “millions of known hacker attempts each year.”
To support the implementation of comprehensive network protection systems, UCLA Health has hired several cybersecurity experts to identify the access points and develop cybersecurity plans and procedures. The organization has also contracted with cybersecurity firms to assist the hospital group in safeguarding its networks.