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Medical Company Fined $450,000 by New York AG Over Data Breach

A medical company has been fined $450,000 by the New York AG over a data breach that may have involved exploitation of a SonicWall vulnerability.

The attorney general of the state of New York announced on Wednesday that a medical company has been fined $450,000 over a data breach resulting from a ransomware attack.

According to the New York AG’s office, US Radiology Specialists, a major private radiology group, was targeted in a ransomware attack in December 2021. The incident resulted in the personal and health information of nearly 200,000 patients, including 92,000 New Yorkers, getting compromised.

The compromised information included names, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, social security numbers, patient IDs, health insurance IDs, and information on medical exams and diagnosis.

An investigation of the US Radiology breach showed that cybercriminals entered the company’s network after gaining access to a SonicWall security appliance using valid credentials. 

While it could not be confirmed, the attackers may have obtained the credentials by exploiting a SonicWall product vulnerability that had been patched by the vendor in early February 2021, after it was spotted being exploited in the wild. 

The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2021-20016, got a lot of attention at the time, but the NY AG said US Radiology had failed to secure its SonicWall system. The company was supposed to replace outdated SonicWall hardware — on which the vulnerability could not be patched — in July 2021, but the process was delayed due to “competing priorities and resource restraints”. 

The NY AG said US Radiology has agreed to pay the $450,000 fine for its poor cybersecurity practices and its failure to protect patient data. 

In addition to the fine, the healthcare company has promised to enhance its information security program, create a program for more efficiently replacing or updating IT assets, encrypting patient information, developing a penetration testing program, and implementing policies and procedures for permanently deleting patient data that is no longer needed.

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Over the past year, the New York attorney general has fined several medical and other types of organizations over data breaches impacting a significant number of individuals. 

UPDATE: Shortly after publication, US Radiology provided the following statement to SecurityWeek:

US Radiology previously notified individuals and regulators, including the New York Attorney General, regarding a December 2021 IT security incident that impacted Windsong Radiology in Buffalo, NY. Since learning of the incident in 2021, US Radiology has implemented additional data security enhancements and continues to improve our technology and processes to protect IT infrastructure. 

Comprehensive data security incident investigations and cooperation with regulatory authorities can be lengthy procedures. As part of the regulatory response to the 2021 incident, US Radiology has entered into a voluntary settlement agreement with the New York Attorney General. 

US Radiology is pleased to resolve this matter and remains committed to protecting patient, provider, and employee data.

Related: Nonprofit Service Provider Blackbaud Settles Data Breach Case for $49.5M With States

Related: Equifax Fined $13.5 Million Over 2017 Data Breach

Related: TikTok Is Hit With $368 Million Fine Under Europe’s Strict Data Privacy Rules

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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