Skip to main content

Hacker puts healthcare records up for sale after sources refuse to pay ransom

A hand on a laptop in a dark surrounding.
Many of today’s most popular hacking methods center around holding information to ransom — the data in question can be anything from your banking credentials to the files stored on your computer. Now, there’s a new scam surrounding hospital records that could affect hundreds of thousands of patients.

A hacker is selling the records of 655,000 patients via the dark web, according to a report from Engadget. These files apparently come from three healthcare outlets; one based in Atlanta, Georgia, one based in Farmington, Missouri and another located in the central US. The information at hand includes full names and addresses, social security numbers, and even insurance policy identification numbers.

Related Videos

As with any case of this kind, there’s some confusion as to exactly how the perpetrator managed to gain access to these records. However, it’s thought that the culprit took advantage of a security flaw related to the way that the targets utilized the Remote Desktop Protocol.

Apparently, all three organizations that have been targeted stored login credentials in plain text — something that should stand out as a seriously risky proposition even to a security novice. Without excusing the actions of the culprit, there has to be some accountability for those responsible for the data in question.

Indeed, the hacker claims to have made contact with the companies, offering them the chance to pay the ransom and bring the situation to an end privately. However, this offer was rejected, so the records are being sold on the dark web for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin.

The perpetrator claims to have sold $100,000 worth of records already, according to a report from Motherboard. The remaining data is expected to garner a further $700,000, based on current asking prices.

Editors' Recommendations

Adobe Firefly brings text-to-image AI to the masses, with artist ethics in mind
AI-generated imagery in Nvidia's press photo for AI Foundations.

Adobe Firefly was announced today by Adobe, as the company attempts to capitalize on the surge in interest in generative AI. The text-to-image model is only in beta, but will be coming first to Adobe Express, the company's simplest and most user-friendly application.

The set of tools will function a lot like many of the other popular text-to-image models, such as Stable Diffusion or Midjourney. The difference here, however, is that Firefly is built from the ground up by Adobe to be used within its creative applications. That means Firefly will be both highly accessible to beginners and include important ethical considerations for artists.

Read more
Bing Image Creator brings DALL-E AI-generated images to your browser
Bing Image Creator being used in the Edge sidebar.

Microsoft isn't slowing down its momentum in generative AI. Just a month since it launched the ChatGPT-based Bing Chat, the company is now introducing Bing Image Creator, which brings text-to-image generation right to your browser.

Bing Image Creator lets you create images from text using DALL-E, which is OpenAI's own text-to-image AI model. Microsoft says it's using "an advanced" version of DALL-E, though the company didn't provide specifics about how it was different than the current DALL-E 2 model. This isn't dissimilar, though, to how Bing Chat was announced, which had been running on GPT-4 before the new model had even been announced.

Read more
The Windows 11 taskbar is getting an important new update
windows 11 taskbar third party app pinning

Microsoft is working on new experiences for Windows that will allow developers to enable pinning for third-party applications, as well as enable pinning to the Taskbar.

Microsoft recently announced the details of these upcoming functions in a blog post. This is the brand's attempt to universalize its pinning process across all apps used on Windows. In practice, it will be similar to how pinning works on the Edge browser, with the Windows 11 users being notified by the Action Center about a request for pinning to the Taskbar by the app in question.

Read more