Latest Cybersecurity News 2023-08-21 Edition

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Weekly CyberTip: Don’t reuse passwords across multiple accounts! 

This week’s news about a data breach at is a clear reminder of the dangers of using the same password across various websites and services. Email addresses and encrypted passwords for over ¾-million users were stolen, and can now easily be tested against other common services like LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, etc. Using unique passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) reduces the danger of criminals using your password to pivot and attack your other services after a data breach.  

Data breach leads to the end of service 

On August 15, – a third-party service that allowed users to create custom links and invitations for their Discord channels – announced that they were ceasing operations “for the foreseeable future” after discovering a total data breach on August 14.  


According to the announcement on their website, “ suffered a major databreach [sic], resulting in content from our database being leaked to unknown actors. We were made aware of the breach later on in the day, and after confirming the content of the breach, we decided to shut down all services and operations.  


The company is still investigating the breach, “but we believe that the breach was caused by a vulnerability in our website’s code, which allowed an attacker to gain access to our database. The attacker then proceeded to download the entire database, and put it up for sale on a 3rd party site,” explained the announcement. 


According to multiple reports, information pertaining to over 760,000 users was involved in the breach. A wide range of information about users was stolen in the attack, ranging from general information (e.g., userid, avatar, user status, and registration and payment dates) up to potentially sensitive data like user name, billing and email address, and salted and hashed password data. 


The attacker is reportedly a hacker using the name Akhirah, who recently posted a sample of the data stolen in the incident on the dark web. Despite the database being offered for sale, altruism may also be behind the attack: “It’s not just about money, some of the servers they overlook [are] talking about pedophilia and similar things, they should blacklist them and not allow them,” Akhirah told a researcher at security news website BleepingComputer. 

Healthcare M&As double the risk of cyber incident 

According to research by a graduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, the chance of a data breach involving patient data increases over 100% in the period during and after the merger of healthcare facilities. 


The research paper analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2010 to 2022. According to the study, in a two-year window around hospital consolidation (specifically, one year before a deal is closed and one year after), the probability of data breaches in both buyers and sellers increase to about 6%, double the probability of an incident outside that time window. 


“The time leading up to and following the merger deal-signing is indeed a riskier period,” according to the grad student, Nan Clement, who suggested several reasons for the marked increase. Clement found that hacker and insider misconduct rose with the mere announcement of a hospital merger or acquisition, with increased interest and higher media profile of the facilities attracting the attention of potential hackers. And complexity and overlap between the systems of the merging healthcare facilities was also cited as a potential cause of security vulnerabilities.  


“When you merge two information systems, that’s a time hackers can take advantage,” Clement said. “Although most hospitals use electronic medical record (EMR) systems, they might come from different vendors and have different features.” 


The healthcare sector is a prime target for data breaches. According to a report by the HIPAA Journal, “The number of data breaches in the healthcare sector compares poorly with other sectors. An analysis of data breaches recorded on the Privacy Rights database between 2015 and 2022 showed that 32% of all recorded data breaches were in the healthcare sector – almost double the number recorded in the financial and manufacturing sectors.” And these breaches are becoming ever more costly, potentially affecting the viability of the newly merged facilities. According to the latest Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the average cost of a studied breach in healthcare reached nearly $11 million in 2023 – a 53% price increase since 2020. 


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