US healthcare giant McLaren says data on 2.2 million patients stolen during ransomware attack

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US healthcare giant McLaren has confirmed it suffered a ransomware attack in which sensitive data on more than two million patients stolen.

The company filed a data breach notice with the Maine attorney general in which it explained that the hackers, identified as BlackCat, breached McLaren’s systems in late July 2023. The threat actor operated on the company’s endpoints for three weeks, before being spotted in late August.

During their time in McLaren, the hackers stole sensitive data belonging to 2.2 million patients, including full names, birth dates, Social Security Numbers, medical information, billing claims, diagnosis data, prescription and medication details, and more. They also stole Medicare and Medicaid information, as well, withTechCrunch able to view screenshots of some of the stolen data and apparently, the hackers also had access to the company’s password manager, internal financial statements, employee information, and more. 

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Millions of victims

Soon after the incident, BlackCat took responsibility for the attack, and subsequently even said it was negotiating with McLaren’s representatives on future steps. There was no evidence to confirm these claims, though, and McLaren did not wish to discuss anything beyond its public statement.

McLaren operates 13 hospitals across the State of Michigan and employs roughly 28,000 people. TechCrunch reports that the company made more than $6 billion in revenue last year, alone. At the moment, it’s facing three class action lawsuits related to the cyberattack.

Ransomware is currently one of the biggest threats to organizations of all shapes and sizes, operating in all industries. While some groups refrain from targeting hospitals, critical infrastructure operators, and government agencies (for pragmatic reasons - not to poke the government bear) others indiscriminately target whoever they can, in pursuit of large profits. 

BlackCat is currently one of the most active and disruptive ransomware operators out there, next to the likes of LockBit and Cl0p.

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.