Attacks/Breaches
5/4/2009
01:37 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Virginia Health Data Potentially Held Hostage

An extortion demand seeks $10 million to return more than 8 million patient records allegedly stolen from Virginia Department of Health Professions.

An extortion demand posted on WikiLeaks seeks $10 million to return more than 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions allegedly stolen from Virginia Department of Health Professions.

The note reads: "ATTENTION VIRGINIA I have your sh**! In *my* possession, right now, are 8,257,378 patient records and a total of 35,548,087 prescriptions. Also, I made an encrypted backup and deleted the original. Unfortunately for Virginia, their backups seem to have gone missing, too. Uhoh :("

The note goes on to demand $10 million within seven days, presumably from the time the data was apparently seized on April 30, in exchange for the key to decrypt the encrypted backup.

"If by the end of 7 days, you decide not to pony up, I'll go ahead and put this baby out on the market and accept the highest bid," the note says.

It's not immediately clear whether this note is genuine. The Virginia DHP hasn't responded to repeated calls and e-mail messages seeking comment.

However, a notice posted on the DHP Web site on Monday morning acknowledged that the site "is currently experiencing technical difficulties which affect computer and e-mail systems."

A spokesperson for the Virginia Attorney General's Office said the agency could neither confirm nor deny any knowledge of an extortion demand.

A note sent to the Yahoo Mail address listed in the ransom demand also has gone unanswered.

Extortion demands of this sort have become relatively common in data breach cases. Last October, for instance, Express Scripts, a prescription drug management company based in St. Louis, received a letter that threatened the release of millions of patient records. A month earlier, a man from Solana Beach, Calif., was arrested for allegedly hacking into a Maserati dealership Web site, accessing customer data, and then threatening to release the information unless the company paid him.

The attack technique -- capturing data, encrypting it, then selling access to the former owner -- has become popular enough to earn its own name: cryptoviral extortion.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on the current state of security. Download the report here (registration required).

UPDATE: In response to InformationWeek's inquiry, Sandra Whitley Ryals, director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions, said in an e-mail that "a criminal investigation is under way by federal and state authorities. We cannot speak to the details because of the ongoing criminal investigation."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-3946
Published: 2014-04-24
Cisco IOS before 15.3(2)S allows remote attackers to bypass interface ACL restrictions in opportunistic circumstances by sending IPv6 packets in an unspecified scenario in which expected packet drops do not occur for "a small percentage" of the packets, aka Bug ID CSCty73682.

CVE-2012-5723
Published: 2014-04-24
Cisco ASR 1000 devices with software before 3.8S, when BDI routing is enabled, allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted (1) broadcast or (2) multicast ICMP packets with fragmentation, aka Bug ID CSCub55948.

CVE-2013-6738
Published: 2014-04-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM SmartCloud Analytics Log Analysis 1.1 and 1.2 before 1.2.0.0-CSI-SCALA-IF0003 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via an invalid query parameter in a response from an OAuth authorization endpoint.

CVE-2014-0188
Published: 2014-04-24
The openshift-origin-broker in Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2.0.5, 1.2.7, and earlier does not properly handle authentication requests from the remote-user auth plugin, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and impersonate arbitrary users via the X-Remote-User header in a request to...

CVE-2014-2391
Published: 2014-04-24
The password recovery service in Open-Xchange AppSuite before 7.2.2-rev20, 7.4.1 before 7.4.1-rev11, and 7.4.2 before 7.4.2-rev13 makes an improper decision about the sensitivity of a string representing a previously used but currently invalid password, which allows remote attackers to obtain potent...

Best of the Web