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Hospital Network Hacked, 4.5 Million Records Stolen
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 6:35 AM

Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals across the U.S., including hospitals in Oklahoma and Texas, announced yesterday that hackers recently broke into their computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.

Anyone who received treatment from a physician's office tied to a network-owned hospital in the last five years -- or was merely referred there by an outside doctor -- is affected. The large data breach puts these people at heightened risk of identity fraud. That allows criminals open checking accounts and credit cards on their behalf, take out loans and ruin personal credit history.

Community Health Systems has reportedly determined that the hackers were in China and used high-end, sophisticated malware to launch the attacks sometime in April and June this year. The FBI is reportedly working closely with the hospital network and "committing significant resources and efforts to target, disrupt, dismantle and arrest the perpetrators."

The hospital network said that just before Monday's announcement, it managed to wipe the hackers' malware from its computer systems and implemented protections to prevent similar break-ins.

The company plans to offer identity theft protection to the 4.5 million victims of the data breach.

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