DeKalb Health Patient Information Breach

AUBURN, IN (April 29, 2014)
Auburn, Ind. – DeKalb Health takes the privacy and security of patient information very seriously. We have learned of a hacking incident involving the DeKalb Health website that resulted in inappropriate access to certain information about some DeKalb Health patients. DeKalb Health utilizes a third-party to operate its website, and a computer server operated by that third party was the target of an overseas hacking attack that potentially impacted three different groups of DeKalb patients. The hacked server was not connected to DeKalb's patient data system.

On or about February 12, 2014, the Hospital became aware of a potential breach involving information of the first group of patients, 17 users of its online bill pay website. The information of each of these individuals that potentially was accessed by the hackers included name, home address, credit card number, and social security number. The hacking incident was reported to, and investigated by, law enforcement. Promptly after law enforcement completed its investigation and informed DeKalb of the identities of the affected individuals, DeKalb sent notification letters to these 17 individuals on March 26, 2014.

Around this time, DeKalb also discovered that the hackers had set up a fraudulent website made to look like the donation page for the DeKalb Health Foundation, and sent fraudulent phishing emails directing individuals to make donations to the Foundation via that website. The phishing emails were sent to an unknown list of email addresses, but that list likely included DeKalb Health patients found on the compromised server. The hackers also defaced the DeKalb Health website to include a link to the fraudulent donation page. Upon learning this, DeKalb immediately posted public notices with local news media and on its website to alert community members of the potential phishing scheme.

Subsequent investigation by DeKalb revealed on or about March 27, 2014 that there may have been an additional database on the compromised server that also contained information about an additional 24 DeKalb patients. The information in that database for this second group of patients was information DeKalb Health had gathered during the pre-admission process, and included: name, street address, email address, date of birth, social security number, hospital ID number, insurance information, general type of service (e.g., outpatient, lab, etc.), telephone number, gender, marital status, religion, race, and demographic information about patient employers, emergency contacts, and guarantors. DeKalb sent notification letters to these 24 individuals on April 1, 2014.

DeKalb's investigation also revealed on or about March 27, 2014 that yet another database was on the compromised server, which contained information about a third group of patients: approximately 1,320 nursery babies whose parents had agreed to post information and photos of the babies for friends and relatives to see on the Hospital's "Web Babies" site. The information in this additional database ranged from December 2002 through the present, and included: the baby's name, weight, length, and date of birth; parent names; and the password for accessing the information about the baby on the web. DeKalb does not have any indication that the nursery data was ever accessed by the hackers. DeKalb compiled and made best efforts to confirm the addresses for these patients and sent notification letters to them on April 25, 2014.

DeKalb Health deeply regrets that this incident occurred. DeKalb is committed to providing quality care and protecting PHI. Since learning of this incident, DeKalb has taken swift and immediate action. The Hospital worked with the third party that operates the compromised server to ensure that the server is no longer utilized for DeKalb purposes. The Hospital also commenced the process of assessing its current relationship with that third party for these services in light of this incident. DeKalb has offered one year of free identity monitoring to all individuals affected by this incident. DeKalb established a call center to respond to any questions patients may have. Patients may contact the call center at (877) 423-0654.

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