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Seattle Cancer Center Patients Receive Threatening Emails After Data Breach


Patients at a cancer center in Seattle are dealing with scary texts after a data breach last month. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center indicated that one section of its clinical network may have been compromised on November 19, which could possibly affect some patient information.


Breach Fallout

Following the hack on November 19, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center took quick action: the network shut down the clinical network, and the federal police hired a forensic security firm to ascertain the cause of the issue. According to reports, the hackers stole the information of more than 800,000 patients and sent threatening messages to both current and former patients. The emails revealed that the names of the patients, their medical histories, and their SSNs had been breached.

The center’s associate vice president of communications, Christina VerHeul, said that an investigation was still going on and told patients to keep a close eye on their bank statements and credit reports for any strange behavior.

In answer to the threatening emails, the center told people who got them to report them to the FBI, block the senders, and delete the messages. The center also made it clear that patients should not pay a ransom if they receive a message demanding one.


The Impact and Response

Concerns have been made about how much patient data was lost or stolen. The center couldn’t say for sure how many people were affected, but it did reassure patients that steps were being taken to fix the problem and make security better.

Patients should stay alert while studies continue. It is the center’s top priority to protect the systems that were compromised and stop anyone else from getting patient information without permission.



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