BORN Ontario child registry data breach affects 3.4 million people

Cyber Security Threat Summary:
The Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN), a healthcare organization funded by the government of Ontario, has announced that it is among the victims of Clop ransomware's MOVEit hacking spree. BORN is a perinatal and child registry that collects, interprets, shares and protects critical data about pregnancy, birth and childhood in the province of Ontario. MOVEit attacks leveraged a zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2023-34362) in the Progress MOVEit Transfer software to compromise and steal data from thousands of organizations worldwide. BORN first became aware of the security breach on May 31 and posted a public notice on its site while simultaneously notifying the relevant authorities (Privacy Commissioner of Ontario). The firm engaged with cybersecurity experts to isolate the impacted servers and contain the threat, which allowed its operations to continue. The investigation revealed that the threat actors copied files containing sensitive information of approximately 3.4 million people, primarily newborns and pregnancy care patients, who benefited from BORN services between January 2010 and May 2023” (Bleeping Computer, 2023).

Security Officer Comments:
BORN has created a web page containing details regarding the breach and who might have been impacted. According to the organization, the exposed information includes names, addresses, postal codes, dates of birth, and health card numbers. Depending on the type of care individuals received by BORN in Ontario between 2010 and 2023, this exposed data could also include dates of service, lab results, type of birth and procedures, birth outcomes, and more. BORN stated that it has no evidence to suggest that any of the stolen data has been misused or circulated on the dark web. However, it won’t be long before threat actors use this information for illicit purposes including phishing impacted individuals for further sensitive data.

Suggested Correction(s):
Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline: Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems.

Update and patch systems promptly: This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk- based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.

Test your incident response plan: There's nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline?

Check Your Security Team's Work: Use a 3rd party pen tester to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the equivalent of unlocked doors.

Segment your networks: There's been a recent shift in ransomware attacks – from stealing data to disrupting operations. It's critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised. Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident.

Train employees: Email remains the most vulnerable attack vector for organizations. Users should be trained how to avoid and spot phishing emails. Multi Factor authentication can help prevent malicious access to sensitive services.