(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity
(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity

HCA hack just latest example of growing trend in Texas and U.S. | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

A cyberattack that led to nearly 1 million patient data records stolen from Methodist Healthcare in San Antonio being published on the internet was just the latest in what FBI records show is an ever-costlier trend of hackers using computers to steal money and information from businesses and individuals.

The data from San Antonio’s largest hospital was part of a breach of Methodist’s parent HCA Healthcare, which said last week could be affecting at least 11 million patients in 20 states. At that number, it would be the biggest breach in the past two years.

It’s the latest major chapter in a wave that saw Texas ranked No. 3 in the U.S. by the number of victims of such crime and No. 4 by total victim losses, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report for 2022. That year, Texas had 38,661 victims and a total loss of $763.1 million.

The report showed that while the total number of such complaints across the U.S. declined slightly from a peak in 2021, total losses are increasing rapidly.

“The fraudsters have become more sophisticated,” said Connor Hagan, a spokesperson for the FBI’s office in Houston. “And because they’re continuing to evolve, we’re seeing new things each day.”

RELATED: USAA: Data breach gave ‘unauthorized individuals’ access to about 19,000 members’ personal info

In 2022, for instance, he said the FBI received more than 21,800 complaints of a cyberattack called a business email compromise scheme, in which the scammer uses email to trick someone into sending money or divulging confidential information. In 2022, such complaints racked up about $2.7 billion in reported losses. About 1,900 such complaints were made in Texas and accounted for about $260 million in losses. That was up from about 1,600 victims in Texas as recently as 2020, according to FBI data.

Ransomware attacks, which block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid, accounted for another 2,300 complaints totaling more than $34.4 million in losses.

Such an attack hit Rackspace Technology Inc. in December, leaving thousands of the San Antonio company’s customers scrambling to retrieve data associated with their email accounts and exposing some customers’ data. Beyond the reputational hit, the incident led the cloud computing company to record an impairment charge of $129 million, to exit its hosted Exchange email business, and triggered a handful of federal lawsuits.

RELATED: Rackspace says customer data was accessed in ransomware attack; email service won’t be rebuilt

In the HCA attack, it appears hackers posted the San Antonio patient data to the deep web after attempting to extort the Tennessee-based health care company. HCA said last week the breach includes patient names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and information about appointments — information said to be up for sale after the extortion failed.

Health care companies, which accumulate vast troves of sensitive personal data, face increasing cybersecurity risks and threats of ransomware. Last year, for example, San Antonio’s Baptist Medical Center was hit by a breach.

Many other well-known area institutions have been hit by data breaches in recent months as well.

In late June, San Antonio-based insurance and financial services company USAA reported a data breach involving “unauthorized individuals” gaining access to the personal information of about 19,000 of its members. 

San Antonio-based Generations Federal Credit Union reported earlier in June that about 18,000 of its members had been affected by a breach.

In March, Our Lady of the Lake University disclosed after the Express-News reported it that nearly 42,000 individuals were affected by a data breach. That has triggered at least two lawsuits.

Also last year, breaches were reported by San Antonio-based Disability Services of the Southwest and Pape-Dawson Engineers.

RELATED: Baptist Medical Center notifies patients of data breach

Hagan pointed to the recent case of Michael Knighten as an example of what some recent cyberattacks look like. Knighten is a U.S. citizen living in Brazil who was extradited in June 2022 and later pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a business email scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Knighten would send fraudulent emails requesting changes in payment information using company vendors, officials said. But the new accounts weren’t the vendors’ actual banks. The scheme involved several companies in Houston, such as Bennu Oil and Gas Company.

Some part of the uptick in cybercrimes in Texas is simply because of the growth of technology in recent years, Hagan said. But cybercriminals have also tended toward the schemes because they are relatively easy to execute and profitable. Many of those committing them tend to live overseas, such as Knighten in Brazil, which makes prosecuting them harder.

Federal investigators, however, have grown more adept in recent years at freezing assets before criminals can access them, Hagan said. An FBI asset recovery team set up in 2018 had a 73 percent success rate in 2,800 investigations in 2022, freezing about $433 million in assets.

 This story includes information from staff writer Matt deGrood.


Click Here For The Original Story From This Source.

National Cyber Security