Fred Hutch patients get blackmail emails after cyberattack

Patients of Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center have been receiving blackmail emails after hackers attacked the institution.

Fred Hutch suggests patients not pay the ransom, report the messages to the FBI, and delete the emails and block the senders, a spokesperson told Becker's. The cancer center took its IT systems offline following the Thanksgiving-week cyberattack.

"To me, it felt like a real good sales tactic, like, 'Here's all your information. Do you want to pay to get it offline?'" Fred Hutch patient Nicholas Quinlan told KIRO after receiving one of the extortion emails.

Mr. Quinlan said he ultimately decided not to pay the $50 because he didn't trust the hackers would remove his information from the dark web, according to the Dec. 7 story. "There's no honor amongst thieves," he said.

The email, which came from a Brazilian domain, claimed he was one of 800,000 patients whose "names, SSN, addresses, phone numbers, medical history, lab results, and insurance history" were compromised, according to the news outlet. "We have been in contact with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center," the message read. "They had the chance to protect your data, but they refused to make a deal."

Fred Hutch advised victims of the scam to make a report at the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.

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