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Hackers hit medical practice

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Allergy Asthma & Immunology of the Rockies — which has offices in Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Eagle — learned that its computer system was hacked May 16. An investigation by a forensic technology company determined there was evidence of attackers creating an unfamiliar directory account on March 19. While there is no evidence that confidential patient information was copied or downloaded, the practice acted immediately by offering patients an extra level of protection with a complimentary one-year identity theft protection program.

The investigation indicates this appears to be a random crime called ransomware. Ransomware, an actively growing issue the FBI outlines on its website, is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Allergy Asthma & Immunology of the Rockies began sending notification letters to all individuals who may have been affected on June 17. The letter outlines steps patients should take to mitigate potential impact. The practice has also established a dedicated website with frequently asked questions: http://www.myidcare.com/aair; and a toll-free information line at 888-530-6590, which operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.



Allergy Asthma & Immunology of the Rockies had a password-protected firewall in place; however, the attackers hacked past it. The hackers then began testing ransomware on the system and a draft ransom note was found. As soon as the hacking was discovered, the system was shut down, new hard drives were installed and the system was rebuilt. A new firewall configuration has been set up and new passwords have been created.

“We are so sorry for any inconvenience to our patients,” Allergy Asthma & Immunology of the Rockies founder Dr. Robert McDermott said. “We take patient privacy and the HIPAA act very seriously. Unfortunately, cyber terrorism is a very real danger in today’s computer age. We are continuing to work with the best professionals to determine the best security measures to put in place to minimize risk moving forward.”



For more information, go to http://www.allergy oftherockies.com.


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