Tilbury District Family Health Team. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Ransomware attack spreads to Tilbury District Family Health Team

The Tilbury District Family Health Team (TDFHT) is warning its patients that their information was also compromised in the October 2023 cyberattack on local hospitals.

TDFHT officials sent notices directly to patients this month reporting some personal health information provided to the clinic, likely dating back to 2015, was accessed without authorization.

The stolen data may include the patient's first and last name, date of birth, address, and health card number, as well as medical status, patient medication summaries, and immunization and therapy status summaries. The stolen data does not include patient social insurance numbers or any credit card, financial or banking information.

"While we have no evidence that your information has been misused, we are notifying you of the incident and providing information about available resources to help protect your information," read the notice.

TDFHT said the overall risk is low, but is encouraging patients to be vigilant by monitoring financial accounts, changing passwords for any online accounts, being cautious about unsolicited requests for personal information, and avoiding suspicious emails.

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Erie Shores HealthCare, Bluewater Health, Windsor Regional Hospital, and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare were all affected after TransForm, a shared service provider, was the target of a ransomware attack in late October.

TDFHT said their network and operational data reside on servers maintained by TransForm. The clinic's electronic medical record was not accessed or taken, confirmed TDFHT, but data stored on a shared drive was stolen.

Officials said the drive contained various database reports that were extracted from the electronic medical record to support routine operations and some were unencrypted.

Work continues to restore IT services.

The data security breach has been reported to the proper authorities.

TDFHT has also reported the hack to Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner and an investigation is underway.

"We regret any concern that this incident will cause for our patients, and we sincerly apologize," said TDFHT.

Call TDFHT at 519-682-2307 and press 6 for any questions regarding the security breach.

TDFHT noted it is experiencing a systems outage and their phones and internet are currently down. They only have limited access to phones and internet intermittently throughout the day. Officials warned that phone wait times will be significantly delayed when they are back up and running.

TDFHT said it will contact patients directly if their appointment is impacted. Patients are being encouraged to book appointments and follow up on results through Medeo.

Click here to register for Medeo.

"Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience," said TDFHT. "We will provide updates as we have more information."

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