Breach, Threat Management, Data Security, Malware, Ransomware

Ransomware-based breach of Alaskan medical billing vendor impacts Fairbanks municipality

A data breach and corresponding ransomware attack at an Alaskan medical billing company that compromised the health information of roughly 44,600 people counteed a Fairbanks-based government municipality among its victims.

According to a report in the HIPAA Journal, Fairbanks-based Golden Heart Administrative Professionals recently alerted the public that a malicious party infiltrated a server containing its clients' patient information and subsequently downloaded ransomware that encrypted certain files. "All client patient information must assume to be compromised," the company reportedly said in a statement. The Daily News-Miner of Alaska further reported that the incident affected more than 500 clients,

One of these clients turns out to be the Fairbanks North Star Borough, a local municipality whose medical billing was managed by GHAP through 2017. About 6,500 patients who required an ambulance from 2012 through 2017 were impacted in that case, the borough has noted in its own online announcement.

The attack took place on April 14 and it was discovered the same day, the borough has reported, noting that affected data includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, medical treatment, diagnosis codes and, and credit card information.

"The borough will continue to monitor GHAP's investigation and will work with the borough's current ambulance billing provider to ensure that it has adequate administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect personal information against similar future threats," the announcement reads.

Moreover, the borough said that GHAP has responded by notifying law enforcement and credit agencies, replacing hardware and updating software, and reevaluating its security measures. GHAP also plans to improve its training, the borough added.

GHAP says it has no knowledge of any client information being misused, the Daily News-Miner previously reported.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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