A federally supported drug and alcohol abuse program in New Mexico has been hacked, possibly exposing patients' names, addresses, health assessments, medications and other treatment methods, San Juan County has announced.
The March 18 data breach was discovered less than 30 minutes after a hacker gained access to the computer system which contains records of people who have been ordered by a court to undergo treatment because they were caught driving drunk or using methamphetamine, a county statement said.
Records of patients in the treatment programs “were potentially at risk for being viewed by the intruder,” the statement said.
The county conducted a forensic investigation of the hack and “found no evidence that this information was accessed by the intruder or removed from the computer."
The county has offered affected individuals free identity protection services.
As many as 12,000 individuals' may have been affected, according to the local newspaper, the Farmington Daily Times.
Since September 2009, the Office for Civil Rights at HHS has been notified of 1,560 medical-record breaches that exposed the records of 500 or more individuals; HHS posted those data breaches to its "wall of shame" website. Those breaches have compromised the records of a total of 158.3 million individuals.
Tens of thousands of lesser breaches have also been reported to the Office for Civil Rights, but those records have not been made public.
Only about 12% of the larger breaches involved hacking, but more than 111 million records were exposed in those hacking incidents, federal records show.
The largest hacking incident involving a public health agency, according to public records, occurred last year when computers at the UCLA Health System were breached, exposing 4.5 million individuals' records.