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A third of Americans could have had data stolen in big health care hack

May 2, 2024
CNN
Contributed by: Sarah Richardson
Summary
In February, a significant ransomware attack targeted a UnitedHealth Group subsidiary, potentially compromising the personal data of a third of Americans and disrupting pharmacy operations nationwide. UnitedHealth CEO, Andrew Witty, disclosed to Congress that it might take months to identify and notify affected individuals due to the ongoing data analysis. Witty confirmed a $22 million ransom was paid to the hackers, who exploited a weakly secured server, and he has since apologized for the breach. This incident, considered one of the largest healthcare cyberattacks in US history, has exposed vulnerabilities in the health sector's cybersecurity infrastructure, prompting calls for tighter regulations. Despite paying the ransom, UnitedHealth is under scrutiny for its data protection practices, with an ongoing investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services and continued pressure from lawmakers to clarify the extent of data compromise.
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