The Quick Report

Data Stolen from Over 100 Million Americans in Ransomware Attack

On Wednesday in the Senate and House, United Healthcare CEO Andrew Witty apologized to doctors, pharmacists, and the American public.

In his testimony, he admitted that the healthcare giant allowed a poorly protected server to be broken into and had to pay $22 million to the hackers to unlock the system. Around one-third of Americans may have had their personal data stolen, and the hack disrupted pharmacies across the entire country.

It will take months for UnitedHealthcare to comb through the stolen data and notify people if they were impacted by this theft.

According to CNN, healthcare experts are saying that this is the most significant healthcare cyberattack in US history. As a result, the number of lawmakers calling for regulation around cybersecurity in the healthcare sector is growing.

The attack happened in February, but Witty says that their initial priority was rebuilding systems to allow insurance claims to start flowing again. Now, UnitedHealthcare is focused on notifying people who were affected by the cyberattack.

Witty blames the attack on a cyber criminal group known as ALPHV, or BlackCat. The Justice Department has identified them as responsible for several other ransomware attacks around the world.

While the FBI generally discourages paying ransoms to cybercriminals, UnitedHealthcare opted to fork out $22 million to get these crucial systems back online. This is similar to what happened with Colonial Pipeline in 2021, when the company paid $4 million to a Russian cybercriminal group that disrupted pipeline operations.

Some lawmakers criticized UnitedHealthcare for their poor cybersecurity. The company processes around 15 billion healthcare transactions annually. Sen. Marsha Blackburn called out Witty and UnitedHealthcare, saying that with their revenue being higher than some countries’ GDP, they should be able to afford the necessary redundancies to stop these kinds of attacks.


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In the meantime, Americans who have used UnitedHealthcare in the past are waiting to find out what personal data has been exposed.