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Banner Health cyber attack 3.7 million people exposed

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Phoenix-based Banner Health is sending out letters to 3.7 million people related to a cyber attack that may have compromised patient information, including birth dates and Social Security numbers, company officials said today. In a news release, Banner officials said they are notifying patients,

health plan members and beneficiaries, food and beverage customers, physicians and healthcare providers. The company owns three Tucson hospitals, plus local clinics and a Tucson-based health plan.


Banner is offering a free one-year membership in monitoring services to those affected. There is no indication at this point that the information is being misused, company officials said.


Anyone with question is encouraged to call a Banner Health phone number from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time, seven days per week — 1-855-223-4412. Additionally the public may access a company website with more information at www.BannerSupports.com


The security breach — the largest in company history —  did not affect all Banner Health patients, officials stressed, but the scope of the attack could have immense implications. Banner Health, a non-profit, is the state's largest private employer and operates 29 acute care hospitals in seven states.


In addition to patient information, credit card data from customers at Banner food and beverage outlets were affected. Three Tucson locations are listed as those where credit card data, including cardholder name, card number, expiration date and internal verification code, may have been compromised.


The three Tucson locations identified on a Banner Health website are: Banner - University Medical Center Tucson Healing Gardens (at the University of Arizona Cancer Center/North, 3838 N. Campbell Ave.); Banner - University Medical Center Tucson main campus (1515 N. Campbell Ave); and Banner - University Medical Center South, 2800 E. Ajo Way.


Officials say payment cards used at food and beverage outlets at certain Banner Health locations during a two-week period between June 23 and July 7 may have been affected.


Officials say they discovered the food and beverage outlet breach on July 7, and on July 13 learned that the cyber attackers may have gained unauthorized access to patient information in an attack initiated on June 17.


The problem was identified by Banner Health's Information Technology (IT) group when they noticed, "unusual activity," company spokesman Bill Byron said, though he would not elaborate on the nature of the activity.


He said Banner is in the process of notifying those affected by U.S. mail.


Ryan Summers

Ryan Summers is an American travel writer, author, activist and television personality. His travel philosophy encourages people to explore less-touristed areas of destinations and to become immersed in the local people’s way of life. 

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