By Dr. Deidre Macdonald
You have undoubtedly heard the news that cyber criminals hacked into the LifeLabs’ computers and accessed sensitive information on millions of clients who got their blood work done through LifeLabs.
As a doctor who sends patients to LifeLabs regularly, I was very concerned. In fact, over half of the licensed naturopathic physicians in BC have local access to a LifeLabs facility. Fortunately, LifeLabs paid a ransom and retrieved the information and have “plugged the holes” so to speak.
They have been communicating to doctors who have patients who use their labs, which is much appreciated. What they’ve told us is that most of the information that they lost control of was identity information such as name, date of birth, address, and health number.
A person’s most vulnerable information, their social insurance number, is not part of their medical records, so I do not believe these criminals would have access to your SIN. Lab results were hacked for about 85,000 patients, most of whom were in Ontario.
LifeLabs is taking this security breach seriously and understands that people worry about identify theft at the very least. Experts say that in cases like this the criminals are interested in the big ransom payout. If they were to maintain a copy and sell off the identity information, they would weaken the case for ransom payouts in the future. But of course criminals aren’t predictable.
LifeLabs is offering all of their clients (including every ND patient in BC who has or does access LifeLabs through their ND) one year of free cybersecurity protection services, such as identity and fraud protection insurance.
They have set up an information site at https://customernotice.lifelabs.com/
There is a number to call to access the cybersecurity program, but as you can imagine, getting through to a person can take time. Also some suggest that one year of protection isn’t long enough and people may wish to pay privately to continue monitoring after one year.
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