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Hackers Install Ransomware on ASC Computer Network

Pa. surgery center, fearing massive data breach, offers 13,000 patients a year of free credit monitoring.

Published: July 13, 2016

MALICIOUS INTENT Hackers didn't get the money they wanted, but they may have gotten patient data.

A Pennsylvania surgery center is warning patients that hackers who tried to extort money from the center by installing "ransomware" on its computer network may have accessed some of their personal information by, according to a news report.

The Ambulatory Surgery Center at St. Mary in Langhorne, Pa., has notified 13,000 patients that hackers may have stolen such information as names and birth dates and possibly "more sensitive data" — but not medical records and payment information, because they were kept on a separate network.

In a letter to patients, the center notes that hackers usually don't use ransomware to gain personal information, but that since they accessed the network, information may have been compromised. To ease concerns, it's offering patients one year of free identity-theft protection, credit monitoring and identity restoration through an outside firm.

The center says the hackers' blackmail attempt failed because all its files were backed up, and it was able to restore everything to a different network on the same day. In a statement, a spokesperson says the surgery center "takes the privacy of its patients very seriously and is doing everything to make its systems and security processes more secure."

Jim Burger

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