The Washington Post

D.C.’S Planned Parenthood branch reports data was breached last fall

Organizati­on is working with law enforcemen­t, notifying people affected

- BY BRITTANY RENEE MAYES brittany.mayes@washpost.com

Planned Parenthood of Metropolit­an Washington, D.C., on Friday revealed it had a breach of patient informatio­n last fall.

In a notice posted to its website, the organizati­on revealed that it found “unusual” activity on its networks on Sept. 3. At that time, it began securing its systems, started an investigat­ion and notified law enforcemen­t.

“Nothing is more important to us than our patients’ privacy,” the notice said. “We have extensive security measures in place, and we continuous­ly take steps to enhance the security of our systems and the data entrusted to us. We will also continue to assist law enforcemen­t’s efforts to identify and prosecute the perpetrato­rs of this incident.”

On Oct. 21, the investigat­ion determined that “unauthoriz­ed actors gained access to [the] network.” It also revealed that the data breach, which occurred from Aug. 27 to Oct. 8, impacted only the D.C. branch.

PPMW indicated that confidenti­al data was breached during the incident when the hackers acquired copies of documents that contained patient informatio­n. Leaked informatio­n included names, addresses, dates of birth, diagnoses, treatments and prescripti­on informatio­n. Social Security and financial informatio­n was also included in the breach. Joshua Speiser, director of communicat­ions for PPMW, said the breach affected a limited number of its patients but did not provide a more specific figure.

On April 9, PPMW began mailing letters to affected patients about whom they could reach for guidance on further protecting their informatio­n. The findings of the investigat­ion found “no reason to suspect that there has been any fraudulent use of patient informatio­n associated with this incident.” However, the organizati­on is providing patients whose Social Secu

The organizati­on said it found “unusual” activity on its networks on Sept. 3, began securing its systems and started an investigat­ion.

rity and driver’s license numbers were compromise­d with compliment­ary credit monitoring and identity-theft protection services.

The organizati­on has been working with law enforcemen­t to continue investigat­ing who committed the breach, but Speiser said they have “no indication PPMW was specifical­ly targeted because of the work we do.”

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