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More Than 530,000 Patients Notified In Data Ransom Scare

"Kidnapper" who held data for ransom still at large, Virginia authorities say

Virginia officials are notifying more than a half-million residents that their Social Security numbers may have been contained in a prescription drug database that was targeted by a computer hacker April 30.

According to a news report, a criminal investigation has not yet determined what, if any, personal information was put at risk in the incident, according to Sandra Whitley Ryals, director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions.

Nevertheless, the state is mailing individual notifications to 530,000 people whose prescription records may have contained Social Security numbers, Ryals said.

The hacker gained access to the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program computer system, which is designed to deter prescription drug abuse, and demanded a $10 million ransom. The hacker has not been found.

The state is also notifying 1,400 registered users of the database, mostly doctors and pharmacists, who may have provided Social Security numbers when they registered for the program, the report says. The database contains more than 35 million prescription records.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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