Healthcare Cyber: House Inquiry Targets Medical Software

by Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Contact

In its latest inquiry into cybersecurity risks in the healthcare sector, the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week requested a “formal briefing” from medical transcription vendor Nuance Communications, Inc. concerning its handling of the NotPetya malware attack.

The committee also hinted that it was undertaking a broader inquiry into the cybersecurity practices in the healthcare industry.

Nuance – a key vendor to hospitals, medical groups and doctors – was one of hundreds of organizations hit by the NotPetrya cyber-attack in June.  The attack crippled multi-national companies in 65 countries, many in critical infrastructure sectors including healthcare, transportation and manufacturing.  For a list of sectors deemed critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, click here.

Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told Nuance CEO Paul Ricci, in a letter dated October 19, 2017, that his committee wanted to “better understand the circumstances surrounding Nuance’s initial infection by NotPetya, as well as what steps it has taken in order to recover and resume full capabilities.”

“While Nuance has announced that impacted services have been fully restored, Nuance’s original infection and its effects add to the growing list of concerns about the potential consequences of cyber threats to the healthcare sector,” said Walden in the letter.

Walden also intimidated that software vulnerabilities are a bigger issue for the healthcare industry.  “While Nuance was not the only company to suffer degraded capabilities,” he wrote, “Nuance’s role as a transcription and dictation provider for a large percentage of the healthcare sector sets its infection and subsequent availability issues apart and raises the possibility of more serious after effects for the healthcare sector as a whole.”

Like many companies affected by NotPetya, Nuance struggled to recover.  The company acknowledged that its network and flagship transcription product, eScription, were taken offline by the attack.  Ten other products were affected including those used for radiology, billing and tracking quality of care.  Almost half of the company’s revenues come from its healthcare and dictation business.

Other companies hit by the virus suffered similar fates.  Companies from Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc to Mondelez International Inc. warned that their sales would suffer from the attack.  And FedEx Corp.’s TNT unit is still coping with the operational and financial fall-out from the attack.

The letter to Nuance is the committee’s third inquiry into the implications of the NotPetya attack.  Last month, the committee asked the healthcare industry’s top regulator, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for a briefing to “better understand” the implications of the agency’s plans for dealing with widespread cyber-attacks.  The committee also asked pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc. to provide details on how the attack affected its manufacturing capabilities.

Nuance has been asked to provide its briefing to the committee by November 2, 2017.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Contact
more
less

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.