15 Million Customers Affected by Ransomware Attack on LifeLabs in Canada

LifeLabs located in Toronto, one of the biggest Canadian medical testing and diagnostics companies, submitted a serious data breach report. Hackers possibly viewed the personal and medical information of around 15 million individuals, mostly residents in Ontario and British Columbia. Considering the number of folks potentially affected, this episode could be deemed as one of the greatest ransomware attacks in the healthcare industry thus far. The two Canadian provinces’ privacy commissioners consider this incident as particularly troubling considering the scale of the ransomware attack.

The attackers accessed LifeLabs’ systems and deployed ransomware, which encrypted a large volume of client data. The investigation of the cyberattack is still in progress, therefore it is still unsure what information was compromised. However, it was affirmed that there was access by the attackers to the areas of the system that contain the test information of approximately 85,000 Ontarians from 2016 and prior years. There is no proof that suggests that the attackers accessed current test information or the medical test information of clients residing in other locations.

A number of those test information include very sensitive medical data that can be used by the attackers for blackmail. The sensitive data consists of names, birth dates, health card numbers, email addresses, usernames, and passwords. At this moment, it appears that there is no misuse of the compromised information or its disclosure online. As per the initial investigation findings, clients are at low risk because of the incident.

It isn’t certain if LifeLabs made data backups for retrieval of the data, nevertheless the company made the decision to give the ransom payment. LifeLabs didn’t let the public know about the sum of the ransom. According to Charles Brown, LifeLabs chief executive officer, they preferred to get the data back and assumed that shelling out for the ransom would be best for their customers.

Cybersecurity and computer forensics professionals are safeguarding LifeLabs’ systems and figuring out the severity of the ransomware attack. They still need more time to determine which customer information the attackers stole.

It is thought that the attack started on November 1, 2019 or earlier. Nonetheless, the public only knew about the cyberattack on December 17, 2019. LifeLabs by now has sent notification letters to the affected individuals and gave them 12-months credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for free.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA