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Beat the Medusa ransomware with the right technology solution

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) fell victim to a data breach on Sept. 22. The government’s health insurance agency was hit by a ransomware attack known as Medusa. In 2022, there were 65.05 million beneficiaries of PhilHealth that were categorized as direct contributors. The information of this huge number of members was greatly put to risk because of the incident. 

The Medusa ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files and demands a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. The Medusa ransomware group has executed a sophisticated attack on PhilHealth, compromising sensitive data and exposing select samples online, underscoring the emergent and serious nature of this cyber threat. 

The compromised data includes confidential information of Filipinos such as names, addresses, contact information, and medical records, as well as internal memos and memoranda from PhilHealth officers, signifying the extensive range of data vulnerable to such attacks.

Medusa has demanded a ransom of $300,000, threatening to release the entirety of the stolen PhilHealth data online if the ransom is not paid, highlighting the significant financial implications of such cyber threats. The government has denied any intentions to pay the ransom, and PhilHealth is working with the DICT and other relevant agencies to recover the stolen data and ensure the culprits are brought to justice.

In response to the ransomware incident, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) has unveiled a new tool designed to empower citizens, particularly senior citizens, to verify the security of their data. The NPC launched the “Na-leak ba ang PhilHealth Data ko?” portal on October 13, 2023, amidst a disconcerting data breach involving the state insurer.

The “Na-leak ba ang PhilHealth Data ko?” portal is an individualized search tool allowing Filipinos to ascertain whether their personal information was included in the leaked data by entering their PhilHealth Identification Number (PIN). Privacy Commissioner Atty. John Henry D. Naga said that the NPC developed the portal in an “exceptionally short period,” as a commitment to protecting citizens’ personal information. It also underscores the commission’s resolve to fortify data privacy and citizens’ peace of mind after the data leak.

The recent hacking incident at PhilHealth has brought to light the importance of cyber security in companies and organizations. A cyber security attack can result in everything from identity theft, to extortion attempts, to the loss of important data like in the case of the state insurer. 

But the good news is, it can be prevented with the right technology solutions. For the last 27 years, Advance Solutions Inc. (ASI) has been one of the leading providers of technology solutions for business, government, education and finance. ASI’s partnership with the best brands in the industry has resulted in bringing a greater technology advantage for their valued clients.

In a recent tech update seminar spearheaded by ASI, two of its top brand partners presented their latest security features:

A representative from Microsoft Philippines informed the audience about Bitlocker — a Windows disk encryption feature, designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes. BitLocker

addresses the threats of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned devices.

HP Philippines representative introduced the HP Wolf Security touted as a new breed of endpoint security. HP’s portfolio of hardware-enforced security and endpoint-focused security services are designed to help organizations safeguard PCs, printers, and people from circling cyber predators. HP Wolf Security provides comprehensive endpoint protection and resiliency that starts at the hardware level and extends across software and services. 


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