Personal but not medical data impacted after hack at B.C. health authority

First Nations Health Authority says “unauthorized entity” accessed its corporate network
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First Nations Health Authority said in a release Tuesday (May 22) that it discovered “unusual activity on its corporate network” on May 13. While FNHA deployed counter-measures, it “has uncovered evidence that certain employee information and limited personal information of others has been impacted.” (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

A province-wide health agency is currently investigating what it calls a “cybersecurity incident” that has impacted the data of employees and “limited personal information of others” but not clinical information systems.

First Nations Health Authority said in a release Tuesday (May 22) that it discovered “unusual activity on its corporate network” on May 13.

“While the investigation is still at an early stage, FNHA has uncovered evidence that certain employee information and limited personal information of others has been impacted,” it said. It is not clear from the statement how many employees or third-parties are impacted and to what extent. FNHA added it is continuing to work with impacted individuals. “FNHA has no evidence that this cyber-incident has impacted any clinical information systems it uses.”

FNHA said it took immediate action to investigate this activity following its discovery and intercepted an “unauthorized entity” who had accessed its corporate network.

FNHA said it immediately deployed counter-measures to prevent any further unauthorized access; hired third-party cyber-security experts; and alerted police, as well as B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner.

RELATED: B.C. says state or state-sponsored actor likely behind cyber-attacks

FNHA’s statement does not say anything about the identity, location or motivation of the “unauthorized entity” that had accessed its corporate system. But it appears to rule out a so-called ransomware attack. Such attacks sees hackers lock up systems, then demand money in exchange for returning control.

“There was no encryption of FNHA’s servers or systems as a result,” it reads.

News of this cybersecurity incident comes as provincial authorities continue to investigate “a very sophisticated operation” against government networks that likely came from beyond Canada’s borders.

FNHA said in its release that the two issues are unrelated.

“FNHA has no evidence that this cyber incident is in any way connected to other cyber incidents in British Columbia that have recently received media attention,” it said.

FNHA has been delivering programs and services formerly delivered by Health Canada to 200-plus First Nations communities across B.C. since 2013.



Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with universalcombatnews in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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