Keyboard on computer (Pixabay.com)

Keyboard on computer (Pixabay.com)

2 Telus Health medical service providers pay ransom after 60K client files accessed

Test results, consultation reports and prescription information was recovered after a ransom was paid

The Medisys Health Group and its affiliate Copeman Healthcare say they paid an unspecified ransom to retrieve personal information for about 60,000 clients after detecting a security breach on Aug. 31.

An email from Medisys head office in Montreal says privacy officials were notified Sept. 4, four days after the breach was discovered, and began notifying customers last week.

They say hackers got demographic information, such as ages and addresses, and some personal health numbers but no financial information or Social Insurance Numbers..

In some cases, test results, consultation reports and prescription information was obtained but recovered after a ransom was paid.

Medisys and Copeman’s websites — which note they belong to Telus — say their security consultants paid the ransom and confirmed the hackers didn’t tamper with the data.

However, cybersecurity experts say there’s a black market for personal information that can be bought, sold and traded by criminal organizations.

The companies are offering affected clients five years of free identity theft protection from a commercial provider — a common response when businesses are hacked..

“We apologize for any inconvenience and we want to assure our clients that we do not believe there is cause for concern.” a website notice says.

The office of Canada’s federal privacy commissioner said in an email that it’s in ongoing communication with Telus.

“Given the potential seriousness of the breach, we are seeking more information in order to determine next steps,” Valarie Lawton said for the Office of the Privacy Commission.

An email from B.C.’s privacy commissioner confirmed that it’s investigating but was unable to offer further comment.

Their Ontario counterpart said it is working with Medysis “to determine the scope and the circumstances of the breach. Until we do so, we have no further details to share at this time.”

The Medisys Health Group’s website, which provides a prominent notice about its COVID-19 services, describes itself as a national provider of preventive and corporate health-care services. Besides the Medisys brand, it operates Copeman Healthcare Centres and Horizon Occupational Health Solutions.

The Copeman website says it operates two locations in the Vancouver area and one each in Calgary and Edmonton. It was bought by Medisys in 2014, four years before Telus bought Medisys.

The Medisys security breach appears similar but smaller than one that occurred last year at Toronto-based LifeLabs, which operates mostly in Ontario and British Columbia.

LifeLabs, which primarily does blood tests, medical imaging as well as laboratory analysis, revealed in November that hackers gained access to the personal information of up to 15 million customers.

A statement issued in June by the privacy commissioners in B.C. and Ontario, said LifeLabs failed to put in place reasonable safeguards to protect the personal health information.

However, they announced in July that LifeLabs had gone to court to stop them from publicly releasing a full report about the incident.

David Paddon, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Tri-Kon will be delivering concrete barriers on Friday afternoon for a patio space that will be shared between Soulfood Farm to Table and Sakura.Trevor Crawley photo.
Outdoor patios in the works for downtown core

Efforts already underway to set up outdoor patios on Baker St. from four local business

The BC Wildfire Service will be conducting an ecosystem restoration burn near the old Kimberley airport next week. BC Wildfire Service file.
Ecosystem restoration burn planned for old Kimberley airport area next week

Burn could begin as early as Monday, April 12, 2021

From wall hangings to plant hangers, keychains and shelves, Radiant Knots creates a variety of pieces to suit for any taste and style.
Cranbrook Arts is Looking Radiant

Cranbrook Arts Featured Artist for the month of April is Radiant Knots.… Continue reading

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

The new 6,300 square foot Cranbrook Food Bank facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd 2 and is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
New Cranbrook Food Bank officially open to the public

The new facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd. 2 and open Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read