2 California eye centers suffer data breaches; almost 30,000 affected

Harvard Eye Associates and Alicia Surgery Center, both in Laguna Hills, Calif., suffered data breaches that affected nearly 30,000 people.

Harvard Eye Associates learned about the breach Jan. 15 from an online data storage vendor it contracts with, according to a notice on its website. Alicia Surgery Center, which contracts with Harvard Eye Associates for billing and administrative services, was also affected, according to a statement. The breach was reported to HHS Feb. 8. 

Hackers demanded money from the vendor in exchange for the data. The vendor made the payment after consulting with investigators and the FBI. Details about the payment amount weren't available.

According to HHS, the breach affected 29,982 people. An investigation found hackers may have accessed data including patients' names, health insurance information and phone numbers as early Oct. 24, 2020. The hackers didn't have access to Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers or payment information.

Investigators don't believe the hackers used or disclosed any data. Harvard Eye Associates is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to everyone affected by the breach.

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