Manitoba

Health information of nearly 1,200 compromised after website hack at Prairie Mountain Health

The personal health information of nearly 1,200 people in western Manitoba may have been compromised after Prairie Mountain Health discovered last month that an internal website was hacked, however officials say the likelihood information was accessed is low.

The breach involved records of ambulance transports between 2013 and this year, according to the health region

Officials believe the intent of the hack was to spread a virus, not access personal health information. (The Associated Press)

The personal health information of nearly 1,200 people in western Manitoba may have been compromised after Prairie Mountain Health discovered last month that an internal website was hacked, however officials say the likelihood information was accessed is low. 

Officials discovered a security breach of an internal website used by the region's ambulance service for educational and quality assurance purposes on April 5, 2017, a Prairie Mountain Health spokesperson said in a statement to CBC News on Monday.  

The breach involved records of ambulance transports for 1,176 patients between 2013 and 2017, as well as employment information on 453 Prairie Mountain Health and affiliate employees in the northern part of the health region. 

"Although the likelihood is low based on how this information was stored on the site, we cannot exclude the possibility that identifiable personal and personal health information may have been, at minimum, viewed by the attacker, and/or copied," read a statement from by Prairie Mountain Health. 

Written notifications were sent to affected staff on April 6 and to patients affected by the breach between April 12 and May 19, 2017, the region said. 

"It is our impression that the intent of the 'hack' was not targeted at accessing this information but rather to infect and transmit a virus into files maintained within this website." 

Prairie Mountain Health said the breach was limited to select files and would have required going through each individual file and transposing, in same cases, hand written information. 

"Anytime there has been a compromise of personal or personal health information, we remain concerned," Prairie Mountain Health CEO Penny Gilson said in a statement provided to CBC News by a spokesperson. "However, PMH carried out our best efforts to notify impacted individuals as soon as reasonably possible so that any necessary precautions could be taken." 

All necessary containment and prevention actions have been taken, the health region said.