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

A hand on a laptop in a dark surrounding.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

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.

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Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
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