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Associated Eye Care Discloses Impact From 2020 Netgain Ransomware Attack

Montana-based Associated Eye Care Partners (AEC) has started informing patients that their personal data might have been compromised during an old ransomware attack targeting Netgain.

In November 2020, Netgain, a provider of managed IT services to several industries, fell victim to a ransomware attack that impacted numerous organizations in the healthcare sector, all of which were informed of the incident by January 2021.

AEC, which provides management services, strategic capital, and expertise to eye care practices, last week last started informing potentially impacted individuals that their data might have been compromised during the incident.

In a data breach notification letter sent to potentially impacted individuals, a copy of which was sent to the Montana Attorney General’s office, the firm does not say when exactly Netgain informed it of the data breach, but said that its investigation into the attack was completed two months ago.

“AEC, along with thousands of other healthcare entities, retained Netgain for online hosting of its environment, including cloud services and e-mail. On December 4, 2020, Netgain was the target of a cybersecurity incident,” the notification letter reads.

“Netgain provided AEC with the data sets that were potentially impacted. AEC then underwent an extensive data mining project to identify all impacted individuals, which was completed on May 16, 2022,” AEC says.

The firm notes that the attackers had access to patient information such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and medical history.

“At this time, AEC does not have any evidence to indicate that any of your personal information has been or will be misused as a result of this incident,” AEC also says.

The firm notes that it has since replaced Netgain as its hosting vendor, that it has migrated all of its data to a different vendor, and that it is working on improving security and mitigating cyber risks.

AEC hasn’t shared the number of impacted individuals, and the information has not been listed on the website of the US Department of Health and Human Services – the HHS keeps track of healthcare data breaches impacting over 500 people.

To date, many healthcare firms have disclosed impact from the Netgain ransomware attack, which appears to have resulted in the data of more than 1 million patients being accessed by the attackers.

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