San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico has begun notifying nearly 69,000 patients about a malware attack that exposed their personal health information.

Reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ on June 4, the hospital stated it had discovered that an unauthorised individual accessed its network from September 7-8, 2020.

In a statement released October 7, the hospital said it had launched an investigation and discovered that the hacker had used malware to remove patient information from its network. The incident is said to have affected 68,792 individuals. 

Some of the files the hacker removed contained patient information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, financial account numbers and medical record details. 

”Upon learning of the issue, SJRMC immediately took steps to secure the network and mitigate against any additional harm. After an extensive forensic investigation we determined that as part of this incident, an unauthorized individual removed information from our network September 7-8, 2020,” the hospital said.

”Following a thorough manual document review of the files that were removed, we discovered on July 13, 2021 that the impacted files contained the personal and protected health information of certain patients who are now being notified.”

No evidence has been found to suggest that the information has been misused.

The hospital centre has offered complimentary credit monitoring services to those who Social Security numbers were contained in the files that were removed.