Hundreds of thousands of patients at a Planned Parenthood Los Angeles branch have had their information compromised in a massive malware attack. Conducted two months ago, it has only been disclosed now.
A hacker apparently using the same type of ransomware deployed to seize the Colonial Pipeline energy system earlier this year is said to have gained access to some 400,000 Planned Parenthood patients from the Los Angeles branch of the Women’s Health Clinic. While Planned Parenthood offers a range of health services, including sexual health screenings and birth control prescriptions, it is perhaps best known for performing abortions.
While the group’s Los Angeles spokesperson John Erickson insisted there was no indication the stolen information was used to “”fraudulent purposes“, He recognized that a”unauthorized person“Had accessed the network between October 9 and 17, installed”malware,” and “exfiltratedSome files. Among the information stolen were the names, addresses, insurance information, dates of birth and clinical information of patients, including private health data.
The incident appears to have taken place about a month after the start of an increasingly heated battle over abortion rights between pro-choice and pro-life activists, with its epicenter in Texas. The state passed a law on Sept. 1 that prohibits Americans from facilitating any abortions that take place beyond the six-week mark. Those involved in such a proceeding – aside, critically, the mother who had the abortion – can be sued for $ 10,000 or more in one of the most controversial aspects of the law.
Despite the best efforts of the Biden administration, the Supreme Court has so far refused to file a permanent injunction against the law, although its application has been briefly suspended more than once.
Other courts have attempted to relax their own restrictions on abortion in an apparent effort to offset Texas law, which unlike previous efforts to overturn the Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion in the first place, does not include exceptions for rape or incest. .
The malware used to hack the Los Angeles clinic was the same ransomware – called DarkSide – rolled out last year to shut down the Colonial Pipeline, but no further information has been revealed about the attacker’s identity or motivation.
This isn’t the first time Planned Parenthood has seen its systems infiltrate. Earlier this year, the organization’s Washington metropolitan branch informed patients that their information – including dates of birth, medical data, and Social Security information – had been breached in 2020. In none of the cases, the clinic did not recognize any fraudulent use of the disclosed data.
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