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Medical information of up to 200,000 Los Angeles residents exposed in hack

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Computer servers (Credit: David Lohner)

The personal and medical information of more than 200,000 residents in Los Angeles may have been exposed in a recent hack of the county’s health department, local officials disclosed on Friday. Law enforcement is investigating.

According to a statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, a hacker successfully obtained the log-in credentials of 53 department employees by sending a phishing email on or around February 19.

It was not immediately clear when the hack was discovered but Public Health said it immediately disabled the affected email accounts when it became aware of the breach. There was also no word on whether personal information had actually been misused by the hacker.

“The information identified in the potentially compromised e-mail accounts may have included DPH clients/employees/other individuals’ first and last name, date of birth, diagnosis, prescription, medical record number/patient ID, Medicare/Med-Cal number, health insurance information, Social Security Number, and other financial information,” the department said.

Not all of the elements listed were present for each individual, the department said, adding that impacted individuals will be notified by mail. A public notice will be posted on the department’s website for people for whom no mailing address is on file.

Law enforcement is investigating the breach and Public Health said it had already implemented “numerous enhancements” to prevent similar attacks in the future.

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