Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.
By James Swann
A senior Republican lawmaker wants more details on how a cyberattack affected Nuance, a leading provider of transcription and dictation services to the health-care sector.
While Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance was able to mitigate the effects of the attack and prevent long-lasting damage, the attack prevented customers from using the company’s services for an extended period of time, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Thursday in a letter released Oct. 19.
The letter asked Nuance, by Nov. 2, to provide the committee with a formal briefing about the circumstances surrounding the initial infection, and the steps it has taken to recover and restore its capabilities.
Nuance didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The letter reflects an ongoing Congressional interest in the issue of cybersecurity, W. Reece Hirsch, a health-care attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in San Francisco, told Bloomberg Law Oct. 19.
As the level of cyberattacks continues to grow, Congress might encourage more sharing of cyberthreat information among health-care organizations, Hirsch said. New legislation probably won’t be in the works due to the robust nature of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security rule, Hirsch said.
“Cyber attackers continue to be increasingly sophisticated, and it’s hard for health-care organizations to withstand attacks,” Hirsch said. For HIPAA-covered entities, cyberattacks need to be built into the risk analysis, Hirsch, a Bloomberg Law advisory board member, said.
Nuance was hit by the June 27 NotPetya cyberattack, which involved a virus that exploited software vulnerabilities at companies across the globe, often encrypting data and locking out employees.
Walden said Nuance provides services for a large portion of the health-care sector, making it crucial to understand how the company was infected by the NotPetya virus and how it responded to the attack and regained control.
The NotPetya attack “represents a new challenge in that it is one of the first instances in which a malware infection has so severely disrupted the ability of health care professionals to treat patients,” Walden said in the letter.
Health-care organizations are beginning to create policies to deal with cyberattacks like NotPetya, Hirsch said, but finding the funds to protect against these threats is a challenge. Organizations need to be as smart as possible when they’re investing in their data security, Hirsch said.
This is the committee’s second letter addressing the NotPetya attack, following a Sept. 25 letter to Merck asking for details on how the attack affected that company’s manufacturing capabilities.
To contact the reporter on this story: James Swann in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kendra Casey Plank at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)