Pennsylvania practice notifies website visitors Google, Bing retrieved submissions from 'Contact us' form

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Monroeville, Pa.-based Premier Medical Associates discovered a data breach affecting 900 visitors to its website, according to a Sept. 15 news release obtained by Becker's Hospital Review.

On Aug. 9, PMA officials learned of a technical error made by the practice's website vendor July 24. Due to the error, information individuals submitted through the "Contact us" form on the practice's website was accessible to other website visitors.

Several public search engines, such as Google and Bing, also "crawled PMA's website as part of their routine activities and retrieved the visitor's submissions" to the practice's "Contact us" form on its website.

Some messages submitted through the form included requests for appointments with physicians, general questions about care and questions about employment opportunities. Since the breach, PMA officials have also learned some affected individuals received emails from third-parties claiming to be affiliated with the practice.

PMA has corrected the technical error and closed affected sections of the practice's website. Practice officials also partnered with Google and Bing to remove messages that may have been viewable on their websites.

"We would like to reassure everyone that all appropriate corrective actions have been taken to secure our website and strengthen our oversight protocols to prevent it from happening again," Mark DeRubeis, CEO of PMA, said in the statement.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Premier Medical Associates for comment and will update as more information becomes available.

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