Featured Article

Change Healthcare confirms ransomware hackers stole medical records on a ‘substantial proportion’ of Americans


Pages from the United Healthcare website are displayed on a computer screen, Feb. 29, 2024, in New York. UnitedHealth says files with personal information that could cover “a substantial portion of people in America” may have been taken in the cyberattack on its Change Healthcare business.
Image Credits: Patrick Sison / AP

Change Healthcare has confirmed a February ransomware attack on its systems, which brought widespread disruption to the U.S. healthcare system for weeks and resulted in the theft of medical records affecting a “substantial proportion of people in America.”

In a statement Thursday, Change Healthcare said it has begun the process of notifying affected individuals whose information was stolen during the cyberattack. 

The health tech giant, owned by U.S. insurance conglomerate UnitedHealth Group, processes patient insurance and billing for thousands of hospitals, pharmacies and medical practices across the U.S. healthcare sector. As such, the company has access to massive amounts of health information on about a third of all Americans

The cyberattack prompted the company to shut down its systems, resulting in outages and delays to thousands of healthcare providers who rely on Change, and affecting countless patients who could not obtain prescriptions or had medical care or procedures delayed. 

Change said in its latest statement that it “cannot confirm exactly” what data was stolen about each individual, and that the information may vary from person to person. 

The affected information includes personal information, such as names and addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses, as well as government identity documents, such as Social Security numbers, driver licenses and passport numbers.

The data also includes medical records and health information, such as diagnoses, medications, test results, imaging and care and treatment plans, said Change. The hackers stole health insurance information, including plan and policy details, as well as billing, claims and payment information, which Change said includes financial and banking information. 

Change said it was still in the “late stages” of its review of the stolen data to determine what was taken and that more affected individuals may be identified. Some of the stolen information may relate to guarantors who paid healthcare bills for someone else, the company said.

The company added that affected individuals should receive notice by mail beginning late July.

The ransomware attack on Change Healthcare stands as one of the largest-ever known digital thefts of U.S. medical records. While the full impact of this data breach remains unclear, the ramifications for the millions of Americans whose private medical information was irretrievably compromised are likely incalculable.

Change said it secured a copy of the stolen dataset in March to review for identifying and notifying affected individuals, which TechCrunch previously reported was obtained in exchange for paying a ransom demand.

UnitedHealth confirmed it paid at least one ransom demand to the cybercriminal group behind the ransomware attack, known as ALPHV, in an effort to prevent the publication of the stolen files. Another hacking group called RansomHub demanded an additional payment from UnitedHealth after claiming ALPHV made off with the first ransom payment but left the stolen data with one of its affiliates — essentially a contractor — who broke in and deployed the ransomware on Change’s systems.

RansomHub subsequently published several files on its dark web leak site and threatened to sell the data to the highest bidder if another ransom wasn’t paid. 

According to UnitedHealth chief executive Andrew Witty, the hackers broke into Change Healthcare’s network using a set of stolen credentials to an internal system that was not protected with multi-factor authentication, a security feature that makes it more difficult for malicious hackers to misuse stolen passwords.

The ransomware attack cost UnitedHealth around $870 million in the first three months of the year, during which the company made $100 billion in revenue, according to the company’s earnings report. UnitedHealth is expected to report its most recent earnings in mid-July.

More TechCrunch

Fisker is just a few days into its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the fight over its assets is already charged, with one lawyer claiming the startup has been liquidating assets…

The fight over Fisker’s assets is already heating up

A hacker is advertising customer data allegedly stolen from the Australia-based live events and ticketing company TEG on a well-known hacking forum. On Thursday, a hacker put up for sale…

Hacker claims to have 30 million customer records from Australian ticket seller giant TEG

Welcome to Startups Weekly — Haje‘s weekly recap of everything you can’t miss from the world of startups. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday. Elon…

Tesla makes Musk best-paid CEO of all time and Fisker bites the dust

Dot is a new AI companion and chatbot that thrives on getting to know your innermost thoughts and feelings.

Dot’s AI really, really wants to get to know you

The e-fuels startup is working on producing fuel for aviation and maritime shipping using carbon dioxide and other waste carbon streams.

E-fuels startup Aether Fuels is raising $34.3 million, per filing

Fisker was facing “potential financial distress” as early as last August, according to a new filing in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, which the EV startup initiated earlier this week.…

Fisker faced financial distress as early as last August

Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors, has agreed to pay a $112,500 fine for failing to provide full information about an accident involving one of its robotaxis last year.…

Cruise clears key hurdle to getting robotaxis back on roads in California

Feel Therapeutics has a pretty original deck, with some twists we rarely see; the company did a great job telling the overall story.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Feel Therapeutics’ $3.5M seed deck

The Rockset buy fits into OpenAI’s broader recent strategy of investing heavily in its enterprise sales and tech orgs.

OpenAI buys Rockset to bolster its enterprise AI

The U.S. government announced sanctions against 12 executives and senior leaders of the Russia-based cybersecurity giant Kaspersky. In a press release, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets…

US government sanctions Kaspersky executives

Style DNA, an AI-powered fashion stylist app, creates a personalized style profile from a single selfie. The app is particularly useful for people interested in seasonal color analysis, a process…

Style DNA gets a generative AI chatbot that suggests outfit ideas based on your color type

Rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts are surging among U.S. teens. A recent report from the Center of Disease Control found that nearly one in three girls have seriously…

Khosla-backed Marble, built by former Headway founders, offers affordable group therapy for teens

Cover says what sets it apart is the underlying technology it employs, which has been exclusively licensed from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

A new startup from Figure’s founder is licensing NASA tech in a bid to curb school shootings

Spotify is introducing a new “Basic” streaming plan in the United States, the company announced on Friday. The new plan costs $10.99 per month and includes all of the benefits…

Spotify launches a new Basic streaming plan in the US

Photographers say the social media giant is applying a ‘Made with AI’ label to photos they took, causing confusion for users.

Meta is tagging real photos as ‘Made with AI,’ say photographers

Website building platform Squarespace is selling Tock, its restaurant reservation service, to American Express in a deal worth $400 million — the exact figure that Squarespace paid for the service…

Squarespace sells restaurant reservation system Tock to American Express for $400M

Featured Article

Change Healthcare confirms ransomware hackers stole medical records on a ‘substantial proportion’ of Americans

The February ransomware attack on UHG-owned Change Healthcare stands as one of the largest-ever known digital thefts of U.S. medical records.

19 hours ago
Change Healthcare confirms ransomware hackers stole medical records on a ‘substantial proportion’ of Americans
Image Credits: Patrick Sison / AP

Google said today that it globally paused its experiment that aimed to allow new kinds of real-money games on the Play Store, citing the challenges that come with the lack…

Google pauses its experiment to expand real-money games on the Play Store

Venture firms raised $9.3 billion in Q1 according to PitchBook data, which means this year likely won’t match or surpass 2023’s $81.8 billion total. While emerging managers are feeling the…

Kevin Hartz’s A* raises its second oversubscribed fund in three years

Google is making reviews of all your movies, TV shows, books, albums and games visible under one profile page starting June 24, according to an email sent to users last…

Google is making your movie and TV reviews visible under a new profile page

Zepto, an Indian quick commerce startup, has more than doubled its valuation to $3.6 billion in a new funding round of $665 million.

Zepto, a 10-minute delivery app, raises $665M at $3.6B valuation

Speak, the AI-powered language learning app, has raised new money from investors at double its previous valuation.

Language learning app Speak nets $20M, doubles valuation

SpaceX unveiled Starlink Mini, a more portable version of its satellite internet product that is small enough to fit inside a backpack.  Early Starlink customers were invited to purchase the…

SpaceX debuts portable Starlink Mini for $599

Ali Rathod-Papier has stepped down from her role as global head of compliance at corporate card expense management startup Brex to join venture firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) as a partner…

Brex’s compliance head has left the fintech startup to join Andreessen Horowitz as a partner

U.S. officials imposed the “first of its kind” ban arguing that Kaspersky threatens U.S. national security because of its links to Russia.

US bans sale of Kaspersky software citing security risk from Russia 

Apple has released Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 and Final Cut Camera, the company announced on Thursday. Both apps were previously announced during the company’s iPad event in May.…

Apple releases Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 and Final Cut Camera

Paris has quickly established itself as a major European center for AI startups, and now another big deal is in the works.

Poolside is raising $400M+ at a $2B valuation to build a supercharged coding co-pilot

The space industry is all abuzz about how SpaceX’s Starship, Blue Origin’s New Glenn, and other heavy-lift rockets will change just about everything. One likely consequence is that spacecraft will…

Gravitics prepares a testing gauntlet for a new generation of giant spacecraft

LTK (formerly LiketoKnow.it and RewardStyle), the influencer shopping app with 40 million monthly users, announced on Thursday the launch of a free direct message tool for creators to instantly share…

Influencer shopping app LTK gets an automatic direct message tool

YouTube appears to be taking a firm stance against Premium subscribers who attempt to use a VPN (virtual private network) to access cheaper subscription prices in other countries. This week,…

YouTube confirms crackdown on VPN users accessing cheaper Premium plans