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Palomar Health Medical Group finds 'suspicious activity' on some computers in network

PHMG says activity was found on May 5, 2024.
Posted at 11:18 PM, May 07, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Monday, Judie Loux told ABC 10News she got an email from Palomar Health Medical Group.

“I’ve been going to Palomar since I was a kid, so over 50 years,” Loux said.

She said the email said PHMG was experiencing technical difficulties, that their system would be down for about two weeks and that patients would need to reschedule non-emergency appointments.

“And I thought for two weeks? So I figured there had to be some kind of a security issue. Well then, of course, I received an email - I believe it was this morning - saying that there was a security issue,” Loux said.

PHMG told ABC 10News in a statement on Tuesday, "On May 5, 2024, Palomar Health Medical Group (“PHMG”) identified suspicious activity on certain computer systems within its network. PHMG quickly took the affected systems offline, to prevent the spread of any potential malware and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of the event. Third-party specialists are working with PHMG to investigate the source of this disruption, to confirm its impact on our systems, and to restore full functionality to our systems as soon as possible.”

“What’s sad, it seems to be happening everywhere,” Loux said.

PHMG added that the Palomar Health Medical Centers in Escondido and Poway and its systems and operations have not been impacted by this incident.

Loux said she got worried after getting this notice.

“If somebody hacked it, is our personal information, our medical information that’s supposed to be so secure; who has access to that?” Loux said.

PHMG also said in its statement, “We are also investigating what impact, if any, this incident had on the security of data within our environment. As a result, our phones, faxes, and portal are non-functional at present. We apologize for any inconvenience this incident may be causing and we are working diligently to resolve this issue.”

“Keep an eye on their data, keep an eye on any suspicious activity.” Aaron Wyant of Dispatch Tech said.

Wyant is the president of the local cyber security firm. He said while this situation is being investigated, people need to be vigilant about who’s contacting them if they say they're involved with a cyber-attack.

“They might say, ‘Whoever was hacked, we noticed there was a data breach, and we wanted to log in to see what’s going on,’ and now, you give them access. So, no big companies [are] going to ask for access to your computer,” Wyant said.

PHMG said it “remains committed to the care of our patients, we are able to accommodate patients, but they may experience delays.”

Loux told ABC 10News that she wondered if those delays would be what was said in her email.

“Is it going to last two weeks or are they going to keep putting us off," Loux said. "And that will be, you know, a pain."