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

Capitals centre Kahlil Fontana faces off against Connor Eddy of the Victoria Grizzlies during last Saturday’s game at the Cowichan Arena. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Capitals fall to Victoria Grizzlies

Caps continue to build chemistry in preseason

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says the City Langford has lessons to share on how to deal with social issues. (File photo)
Langford could teach North Cowichan ways to deal with social issues: Siebring

Island city has only eight homeless people, according to last count

Potential designs for 85 Station St. were presented last month to the City of Duncan by the Portland-based architecture and planning firm Communitecture. (Courtesy of Communitecture)
City of Duncan considers applying for grant for Station Street project

New provincial program offers grants of up to $1 million

The bus is free to ride on Oct. 24 so voters can get to the polls to cast their ballots in the provincial election. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Free transit on Election Day in Cowichan

all day and on all regular routes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

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

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Most Read