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Gamers raid medical server to host Call of Duty

230,000 patient records exposed

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A server storing sensitive patient information for more than 230,000 people was breached by unknown hackers so they could use its resources to host the wildly popular Call of Duty: Black Ops computer game.

New Hampshire-based Seacoast Radiology warned patients on Tuesday that the hacked server stored their names, social security numbers, medical diagnosis codes, address, and other details. On a website established after the mid-November breach, the medical group urged patients to monitor their credit reports for signs of identity theft, although there's no evidence of any misuse of the information.

The unknown hackers used the server's bandwidth to play the the Call of Duty game, said Lisa MacKenzie, a spokeswoman for ID Experts, a firm that was brought in the respond to the breach. Investigators believe the hackers were located in Scandinavia, but she didn't say how that determination was made. People with the smarts to compromise a medical group's server also have the ability to spoof their IP address.

The breach was discovered on November 12, after an admin noticed a loss of bandwidth. It was unclear how long the hackers had access to the server before the hack was discovered.

Seacoast Radiology brought in security experts to investigate. The weakness that made the compromise possible has since been discovered and fixed. The breach has been reported to the federal Department of Health and Human Services and New Hampshire's attorney general. ®

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