Russian hackers release ‘nude’ photos of cancer patients in 'new low'

Russian hackers targeting US networks in 'very large and ongoing' cyberattack

A hacker group associated with Russia has stooped to a new low after using photos of cancer patients as blackmail against a health network in Pennslyvania.

According to a blog post from Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) published last month, the health network had been the victim of a cyber security break by a group called BlackCat.

“On February 6, LVHN detected unauthorized activity within our IT system. Our technology team identified the unauthorized activity and we immediately launched an investigation,” LVHN wrote.

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In their blog post, LVHN said the hackers from BlackCat targeted a “computer system used for clinically appropriate patient images for radiation oncology treatment and other sensitive information” and demanded LVHN pay a ransom.

But according to a recent report from Lehigh Valley Live, BlackCat published the “sensitive information” on the dark web. On Twitter, user vxunderground posted a screenshot of a message BlackCat sent to LVHN this past week, claiming to have “stolen confidential data” including patient names, personal data, and nude photos.

“Our blog is followed by a lot of world media, the case will be widely publicized and will cause significant damage to your business,” BlackCat wrote.

BlackCat, which also goes by ALPHV is a ransomware group with ties to Russia. The group has previously attacked other academic and healthcare organisations seeking ransoms as high as $1.5 million.

"We are continuing to work closely with our cybersecurity experts to evaluate the information involved and will provide notices to individuals as required as soon as possible. Attacks like this are reprehensible and we are dedicating appropriate resources to respond to this incident," LVHN said in their blog post.

We reached out to Lehigh Valley Health Network for comment.

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