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The state has refused to pay the $10M ransom demand

Days after it was revealed a hacker successfully compromised the Virginia Health database and stole records of more than 8 million patients; the state of Virginia announced it will not pay a requested $10 million ransom.

The database is used by pharmacies and doctors to track narcotics and painkiller prescriptions, in an attempt to reduce the amount of abuse, theft and illegal sales of popular prescription drugs.

Both the Virginia state police and FBI are looking into the matter, with Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine saying this is a "crime and it is being treated that way."

The state has refused to pay the ransom, and will instead rely on the FBI's investigation to locate and prosecute the people responsible for this data intrusion.

Since the breach last week, the Department of Health Professions shut down its computer network, and all data has been successfully backed up.  The DHP has issued a statement saying it can "assure the public that all precautions are being taken for DHP operations to continue safely and securely."

Hackers’ attempts to steal personal information or hold data for ransom has increased in popularity, with hackers routinely stealing Social Security Numbers and other personal information so it can be sold to identity thieves.  There is a growing concern over foreign-based hacker groups that are bankrolled by countries such as China and Russia, who are targeting U.S.-based computer networks.

The FBI hasn't said if they believe this data intrusion to be the work of foreign hackers, but it's a link they're likely looking into during the investigation.

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RE: Or what?
By jeff4IT on 5/8/2009 2:10:10 PM , Rating: 3

I think you aren't seeing the real problems. Previous conditions and related coverage denial are only a small part of the problem.

Lots of people don't get health care in the US. You are correct that those needing urgent life saving care are admitted and receive care. But only for very immediate serious or urgent conditions. Examples: Serious = heart attack. Urgent = broken bone. Not covered = cancer.

What happens is that simple conditions for patients without health insurance go untreated because the hospitals won't (can't) do it. Those simple conditions left untreated get worse until they are life threatening and then the patient is admitted and must be provided much more expensive and lenghty treatment.

This is the true cancer of our health system in the US. Extending coverage, no matter how its done, will drive down the overall cost of health care. It will also increase the quality of life for millions.

There is one more hidden issue. If these records are sold and someone uses your information to receive care, you are going to be responsible for the bill. It happens EVERY DAY and causes many to go into bankruptcy if they can't prove it wasn't they who received the care.

Also, after someone has used your insurance fraudulantly and your health record has incorrect information in it, you have absolutely no legal rights to have it corrected. This has also lead to many deaths because the bad data in the health record lead to incorrect care.

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