FBI Notification Cyber Criminals FTP Server Hack patients PII

Assertion made by – Internet

Confirmation by – Real

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The FBI issued Private Industry Notification 170322-001 to smaller heath care offices about how cybercriminals are using an old method involving an FTP server to gain access to personally identifiable information (PII) about patients. The notification was launched March 22, 2017.

Ayupp Analysis- The above news is correct and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has given public notification <>. The notification informs that it is a private industry notification for smaller health care offices. Cyber criminals are using an old method which involves an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server to fetch patient information by controlling Personally identifiable information (PII). FBI had released these notifications on 22nd March,2017.

In the world of internet, FTP is most traditional way of transferring files between two systems over the network. Both the systems must have client programs which can decompile the FTP and send files. In current day world we have many protocols like HTTP, FTPS, SFTP, etc.

There was one citation from University of Michigan in 2015, the research stated that almost 1 million FTP servers were configured in such a way that they can allow connections to anonymous access. This led FBI to come in active mode. FBI also found some information from Minxomat. A security researcher had informed that almost 8,00,000 anonymous FTP services were exposed.

How to access information using FTP server – When the anonymous access is provided to the server, it means that FTP does not require authentication before accessing the file. So anyone can get control over this files. Its usual practice to put only public files with anonymous access. It might have happened that the smaller health care offices might be using older ad less sophisticated file systems. It also becomes easy for someone to change the configuration of these servers due to bad maintenance. Sometimes, these systems have anonymous access by default and they never got changed.

This is the reason, FBI had to pitch in to give warning to PII, so that they can understand that their less sophisticated systems is no more secured and cyber criminals can access their network. This can lead to heavy misuse of personal information. There are many more issues apart from anonymous access.

FBI has given recommendations, that the each of the health care entities should contact their respective IT service personnel to perform complete scan of all the office networks for any anonymous FTP servers. If the administrator comes to know about any sensitive PHI or PII stored on the server which is having anonymous access, then these files have to be removed immediately from that location. It must be ensured that their data is secured from unauthorized usage. Please read the FBI notification for more details.


About The Author

Chetan Sharma is an Indian fact-checker and news writer, writing news for Ayupp since 2014.

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