5,000 patients' data lost following failed backup system at Marin Medical Practices Concepts

After being hit with a ransomware attack, a failed backup system caused Marin Healthcare District and Prima Medical Group to lose clinical information collected in a two-week window at the district's nine medical centers.

The ransomware attacked Marin Medical Practices, the company that provides the district with business and healthcare system services. The Greenbrae, Calif.-based district learned of the attack on July 26. The security incident affected 2,292 patients of Marin Healthcare District and 2,934 patients of physicians with Prima Medical Group who work with Marin General Hospital.

MMP paid a ransom to the hackers, CEO Lynn Mitchell told the Marin Independent Journal, but she did not disclose the amount or denomination paid, citing security reasons.

An investigation into the incident showed no evidence that patients' personal, financial or health information was accessed, viewed or transferred. However, as the healthcare district was restoring its systems, one of MMP's backup systems failed, losing 5,000 patients' information collected between July 11 and July 26 across the district. The lost information includes vital signs, limited clinical history, documentation of physical exams and communication records between patients and providers.

A spokesperson for Marin General Hospital told Marin Independent Journal the data loss was not due to the ransomware. "The ransom unlocked the data; however, at the time of the incident, we were in the middle of a system upgrade. The data loss occurred at the time of the system restore due to a faulty backup system — not due to the malware," spokesperson Jamie Maites said.

Marin Healthcare District CEO Lee Domanico said the organization will strengthen its safeguards. "Our community can rest assured that the Marin Healthcare District will continue to work side by side with our vendors to ensure that all of our data is protected with today's most advanced technology to reinforce their security systems against the most aggressive threats," he said in a statement.

Editor's note: The headline of this article was updated to indicate not all 5,000 patients were of Marin Healthcare District. We apologize for the error.

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