Nursing homes' security threatened by information posted to hacker website

Share this article:

Documents posted to a file-sharing website could have been used to steal medical record and credit card information from three nursing homes in New York state, according to a Tuesday report in the Wall Street Journal.

Cybersecurity experts found the documents on the website 4shared.com, the Journal reported. The site is well-known as a place where hackers post stolen files and data.

The materials were extensive, according to the WSJ. A document taken from Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center included information such as the Internet addresses of wireless access points for 11 rooms, “precise” facility blueprints, and passwords for network access, the report stated.

However, no confidential health information of its residents was compromised, and the facility took immediate precautions — such as changing passwords — upon learning of the breach last week, Administrator Cathy Rauschendorfer told McKnight's.*

The other involved facilities — Glengariff Health Care Center and the Bronx Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare — also had taken steps so that the stolen documents did not pose serious security risks, according to the WSJ. There have been no reports of identity theft or other crimes related to the breaches.

All the facilities were using SigmaCare software from eHealth Solutions Inc. Because personal health information is encrypted, cyber criminals using the posted information still would not have been able to access that type of data, an eHealth executive told the Journal. 

The newspaper also spoke with computer security experts, who said that the increasing use of Internet-connected medical devices, such as dialysis machines, has heightened the risk of these types of incidents.

*Editor's Note: This article was updated to reflect information provided by Campbell Hall to McKnight's as of the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Share this article:

More in News

Genesis, Skilled Healthcare merger to create huge long-term care provider with more than 500 facilities

Genesis, Skilled Healthcare merger to create huge long-term ...

Genesis HealthCare and Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. will merge to create a single long-term and post-acute care company with more than 500 facilities nationwide, the providers announced Tuesday.

Antipsychotic use tied to acute kidney injury, increasing pressure on nursing home ...

Older people who take antipsychotic medications are at a markedly increased risk of acute kidney injury, according to newly published research findings out of Canada. The study further supports ongoing efforts to reduce the number of nursing home residents on these drugs.

Family alleges long-term care facility banned them due to social media posts, ...

Family members of a Texas long-term care resident have sued the facility where she lives, claiming they were banned from visiting due to their social media posts, according to a publication covering legal proceedings in the state.