A data breach in the U.K. has compromised personal information of over 15,000 new and expecting parents. According to reports, hackers targeted the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) last week, exposing email addresses, usernames, and encrypted versions of member passwords. Luckily, no sensitive data nor financial information was accessed by attackers, and the organization has already contacted all affected parties.
The NCT is a London-based charity that offers financial support and advice to “hundreds of thousands” of recent and soon-to-be parents. And given the already stressful nature of early parenthood, such a data breach certainly comes at a rather unfortunate time.
The attack is the latest in a string of data breaches that have victimized health care organizations — from hospitals to insurance companies, hackers have found that many of these organizations house veritable treasure troves of personal information, making them ideal targets for malicious purposes. Last year, American health insurance company Anthem saw one of the biggest data breaches in history, with 80 million records compromised. CareFirst was hacked shortly thereafter, yielding the information of some 1.1 million patients.
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While NCT’s data breach was nowhere near as devastating as those last year, the occurrence certainly remains a cause for concern. “We discovered the breach (on Wednesday),” a NTC spokesperson said in a statement, “upon which we contacted everyone affected advising them of the breach and suggesting that they change their username and passwords. We have also reported the matter to the police and Information Commissioner.”
Affected individuals have also been urged to change their passwords, with NCT CEO Nick Wilkie emailing users, “While your password is encrypted, as a precaution, I would advise you to change any password as soon as possible for other accounts or registrations that use these details.”