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US’ Planned Parenthood cyberattack exposes data of 400K patients: Report

The Los Angeles chapter of Planned Parenthood suffered a ransomware attack in October that compromised the personal information of about 400,000 patients, media reports said.

According to a breach notification the organisation sent to victims, the unidentified perpetrator stole documents from the Planned Parenthood affiliate that contained sensitive data on some patients.

The sensitive data included patients’ insurance information, their diagnosis, procedure or prescription, reports CNN.

“Law enforcement was notified of this incident,” John Erickson, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, was quoted as saying.

“Unfortunately, we do not know the identity of the person responsible, which is not uncommon in these situations. However, we have no indication this was a targeted attack,” the spokesperson added.

Erickson said the incident was confined to Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles chapter and that there is no evidence that the stolen information had been used for fraudulent purposes.

The last year has seen several major ransomware attacks, including one that targeted and hampered Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest US fuel pipelines, the report said.

In November, the US Cyber Command head and Director of the National Security Agency General Paul Nakasone said the US government had aimed at sources of funding for ransomware operatives, many of whom are based in Russia and Eastern Europe and who have made millions extorting US companies.

Despite the enormous toll the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on hospitals and other health clinics, many cybercriminals have not refrained from holding computer systems of such facilities hostage.

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