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Privacy Briefs: August 2019

◆ A Puerto Rico medical center and a related women and children’s hospital were victims of a ransomware attack that affected the data of more than 522,000 patients. Bayamón Medical Center and Puerto Rico Women and Children’s Hospital, both part of the same organization and based in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, said the organization had “faced a recent security incident which potentially involves personal information of the Hospitals’ patients.” The organization discovered on May 21 that patient information had been encrypted. It then hired an outside consultant and began an internal investigation. “As a result of our investigation, the Hospitals believe that the records were simply encrypted and there is currently no indication that the information itself has otherwise been used by any unauthorized individual,” the organization said in a statement. No data was lost, and there’s no evidence of exfiltration, the organization said. Read the organization’s statement at

◆ In another ransomware incident, nonprofit Park DuValle Community Health Center in Louisville, Kentucky, paid hackers nearly $70,000 in bitcoin ransom in the hopes of unlocking the medical records of some 20,000 patients that have been held hostage for nearly two months. Elizabeth Ann Hagan-Grigsby, Park DuValle’s CEO, told local media outlet WDRB that the health center has not been able to access its records or appointment scheduling system since June 7 because of a ransomware attack. It was the second such attack on Park DuValle’s computer system since April, she said. Still, Hagan-Grigsby told HHS that there’s been no data breach, and that the organization’s firewalls show there was no “outgoing data.” Learn more at

◆ Researchers at security firm CrowdStrike have identified a new ransomware variant identifying itself as BitPaymer. This new variant was behind a series of ransomware campaigns beginning in June, including against the city of Edcouch, Texas, and the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture. The ransomware variant, which CrowdStrike calls DoppelPaymer, shares some similarities with older BitPaymer ransomware. These types of ransomware typically target “big game” such as hospitals and other organizations that can’t afford downtime, CrowdStrike says. View more details at

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