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Phishing Attack May Impact L.A. County Public Health Data

The February cyber attack may have compromised personal information belonging to roughly 200,000 clients, employees and others, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said last week.

An account login attempt with a fish hook through it demonstrates the risk posed by phishing.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reporting that it suffered a phishing attack in February that may have compromised the personal information of some 200,000 clients, employees and others.

In a notice posted on its website last week, the department said the email credentials of 53 employees had been compromised in the incident that occurred between Feb. 19 and Feb. 20.

“In this case, the DPH employees clicked on the link located in the body of the email, thinking that they were accessing a legitimate message from a trustworthy sender,” the agency said in the notice.

The perpetrators could have accessed a range of information contained within staff emails, including client names, dates of birth, diagnosis, prescriptions, medical record number/patient ID, Medicare/Medi-Cal number, health insurance information, Social Security Numbers and financial information.

“DPH has implemented numerous enhancements to reduce our exposure to similar email attacks in the future,” the department said. “Upon discovery of the phishing attack, we acted swiftly to disable the impacted email accounts, reset and re-imaged the user’s device(s), blocked websites that were identified as part of the phishing campaign and quarantined all suspicious incoming emails.”

DPH is working with law enforcement to investigate the incident and said it “will notify the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights and other agencies as required by law and/or contract.”

This story first appeared in Industry Insider — California, part of e.Republic, Government Technology’s parent company.
Eyragon Eidam is the managing editor for Industry Insider — California. He previously served as the daily news editor for Government Technology. He lives in Sacramento, Calif.