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Patient Data Affected In Cottage Hospital Cyber Attack

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 1623

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Community Health Systems, Inc. confirmed that its computer network was targeted by cyber criminals in April and June of this year.

The company is the parent business of Galesburg Cottage Hospital in addition to 205 other hospitals in 29 states.

Community Health Systems says in the filing that its forensic expert company believes an “Advanced Persistent Threat” group from China used a process involving malware and other technology to attack their data.

Galesburg Cottage Hospital confirmed that patients in Galesburg may have been affected by the security breach.

“We take very seriously the security and confidentiality of private patient information and we sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience this event may cause for our patients,” says a release from Cottage Hospital Marketing Director Eileen Inness.

According to Community Health Systems’ filing, a thorough investigation was conducted and steps have been taken to enhance security and eliminate the malware that was infecting their system.

About 4.5-million patients were affected by the data breach, some of which come from Galesburg. Attackers of this sort are typically after sensitive intellectual information.

Community Health Systems, Inc. believes that creating a formidable cyber defense is the responsibility of the Federal Government.

“Though we have no reason to believe that this data would ever be used, all affected patients are being notified by letter and offered free identity theft protection,” says the release from Inness.

No patient credit card information is thought to have been compromised from Galesburg Cottage Hospital at this time.

Patients visiting Cottage over the last five years may have seen limited personal identification transferred out of their organization.

Medical or clinical information is also thought to remain safe according to the filing.