Blog :: NDR

The Impact of a Data Breach

a coder inspecting a zero day attack leading to a data breach

As a New England company, we saw a recent cyberattack affect our community in the local news. The significant cyberbreach affecting Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Frisbie Hospital, as it turns out, extends far beyond the Seacoast area. It also serves as a stark reminder that cyber threats can have far-reaching implications, transcending geographic boundaries and emphasizing the need for robust security measures in all organizations, regardless of their location.

So, what happened?

The Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Frisbie Hospital breaches were part of a larger breach at HCA Healthcare. The HCA data breach was a significant incident that occurred when sensitive data stored by HCA Healthcare, one of the largest hospital chains in the United States, was compromised. The breach was made public on July 5th 2023, resulted in unauthorized access to a substantial amount of personal and medical information of patients. This included names, addresses, social security numbers, medical records, and other confidential data. 

The breach had far-reaching implications, potentially exposing individuals to identity theft, fraud, and other privacy-related risks, and necessitated extensive efforts by HCA Healthcare to mitigate the damage, strengthen security measures, and rebuild trust with affected individuals. As you would expect, HCA is Currently limiting the details about this attack but have released an official statement. 

This appears to be a theft from an external storage location exclusively used to automate the formatting of email messages. There has been no disruption to the care and services HCA Healthcare provides to patients and communities. This incident has not caused any disruption to the day-to-day operations of HCA Healthcare. Based on the information known at this time, the company does not believe the incident will materially impact its business, operations, or financial results.

HCA Healthcare reported this event to law enforcement and retained third-party forensic and threat intelligence advisors. While our investigation is ongoing, the company has not identified evidence of any malicious activity on HCA Healthcare networks or systems related to this incident. The company disabled user access to the storage location as an immediate containment measure and plans to contact any impacted patients to provide additional information and support, in accordance with its legal and regulatory obligations, and will offer credit monitoring and identity protection services, where appropriate.

  1. Since this was external traffic visibility is key. Once the dust settles, they need to define what they could see and what they need to see in the future.
  2. Currently they are not reporting any disruptions and have disable user access. The investigation is still ongoing. How are they going to monitor for this moving forward?
  3. How easy was it to get necessary attack data? How can they improve on this in the future?

HCA Healthcare is a participant in the Center for Threat-Informed Defense, which builds on MITRE ATT&CK® framework, an important foundation for threat-informed defense. HCA Healthcare believes deeply in threat-informed defense and in validating those defenses using ATT&CK® framework, yet despite this persistence, a breach still occurred. And after the cyber-attack and subsequent data breach, HCA Healthcare patients have filed at least five class action lawsuits related to the cyber security incident.

Why is this important?

When a company experiences a cyberattack, it can face several direct impacts and penalties. Here are three direct impacts and three often overlooked penalties:

Direct impacts:

  1. Financial Loss: Cyberattacks can lead to significant financial losses for a company. Expenses may include incident response, investigation, system repairs, legal fees, regulatory fines, customer compensation, and potential loss of business or revenue due to reputational damage.
  2. Reputation Damage: A cyberattack can severely damage a company’s reputation, eroding customer trust and confidence. The public disclosure of a data breach or security incident can result in negative media coverage, customer backlash, and the loss of existing and potential customers.
  3. Operational Disruption: Cyberattacks often cause disruptions in normal business operations. Depending on the severity of the attack, systems may be temporarily or permanently compromised, leading to downtime, service disruptions, and delays in delivering products or services to customers.

Often overlooked penalties:

  1. Legal Consequences: A cyberattack can lead to legal penalties beyond regulatory fines. Companies may face lawsuits from affected individuals, shareholders, or other entities seeking compensation for damages resulting from the breach. Legal costs and settlements can be substantial, impacting the company’s financial standing.
  2. Intellectual Property Theft: Cyberattacks can result in the theft of valuable intellectual property, including trade secrets, patents, proprietary algorithms, or research and development data. Such theft can harm a company’s competitive advantage, impair innovation, and result in significant financial losses over the long term.
  3. Loss of Employee Confidence: A cyberattack can create an atmosphere of insecurity among employees, leading to a loss of confidence in the company’s ability to protect their personal and professional information. This can result in decreased morale, increased turnover, and difficulty in recruiting top talent in the future.

It’s essential for organizations to consider both the direct impacts and the less obvious penalties when evaluating the risks and consequences of a cyberattack, in order to implement effective cybersecurity measures and response plans. 

What can you do to help avoid a breach?

When a zero-day threat occurs asking the right questions is crucial to uncover your specific blind spots and needs. In the context of the direct impacts and penalties of a cyberattack, here are three example questions that you should think about when considering how a scalable metadata monitoring and reporting solution like the Plixer Solution can help:

  1. Considering the potential financial losses associated with a cyberattack, how confident are you in your organization’s ability to accurately assess and minimize the financial impact of such incidents? How could a scalable metadata solution like Plixer’s NDR solution enhance your ability to mitigate financial risks and allocate resources more effectively?
  2. In light of the reputational damage that can arise from a cyberattack and the erosion of customer trust, how do you currently monitor and analyze your network to detect potential security breaches? Can you envision how a scalable metadata solution like Plixer’s NDR solution would provide you with comprehensive visibility, helping you detect and respond to threats more proactively to protect your company’s reputation?
  3. Considering the operational disruptions that can result from a cyberattack, such as downtime and service disruptions, how do you currently ensure the availability and continuity of your critical business operations? Can you imagine how a scalable metadata solution like Plixer’s NDR solution would provide you with real-time insights, allowing you to quickly identify and address any operational disruptions, minimizing their impact and ensuring smooth business operations?

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, it’s crucial for businesses to proactively assess their cybersecurity measures. By asking the right questions about your current security protocols, you can identify vulnerabilities and take steps towards a stronger defense. With Plixer, a scalable NDR solution, you can not only address your specific pain points but also bolster your overall security posture. Remember, in the world of cybersecurity, constant observation and security evaluation are the keys to achieving lasting success. Safeguard your digital assets with a comprehensive approach that embraces threat intelligence, real-time monitoring, and adaptive defenses. Stay one step ahead of cyber threats and pave the way for a fortified future. 

Want to learn more about how you can better monitor and protect yourself from the next zero-day attack? Book a quick demo.