Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy UCLA Health
LOS ANGELES, July 17 (UPI) -- The personal and medical information of up to 4.5 million patients may have been accessed in a cyberattack on the computer system at California's UCLA hospitals, the organization announced Friday.
UCLA Health said it currently has no evidence to suggest the patients' information was actually accessed or acquired during the hack.
"We take this attack on our systems extremely seriously," said Dr. James Atkinson, the interim associate vice chancellor and president of the UCLA Hospital System. "Our patients come first at UCLA Health and confidentiality is a critical part of our commitment to care. We sincerely regret any impact this incident may have on those we serve. We have taken significant steps to further protect data and strengthen our network against another cyber attack."
UCLA Health said it is working with the FBI and private computer forensic experts to reinforce security on network servers. A news release said officials first noticed suspicious activity in October.
"At that time, it did not appear that the attackers had gained access to the parts of the network that contain personal and medical information," the news release said.
By May 5, though, it became clear personal information -- including names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers and information, and Medicare or health plan ID numbers -- could have been accessed. That information may have been acquired as early as September 2014.
UCLA Health said it is in the process of notifying the 4.5 million patients whose information may have been compromised. Former patients who think they might be affected by the hack can visit www.myidcare.com/uclaprotection.
UCLA Health includes four hospitals -- Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, UCLA Medical Center and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA -- and 150 medical offices in southern California.