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24,000 UNC Health Care patients affected by potential security breach

UNC Health Care is notifying 24,000 patients about a potential security breach at a UNC dermatology practice in Burlington.
UNC Health Care is notifying 24,000 patients about a potential security breach at a UNC dermatology practice in Burlington. cseward@newsobserver.com

UNC Health Care is notifying 24,000 patients about a potential security breach at a UNC dermatology practice in Burlington.

UNC said Friday that personal patient information was contained on a hard drive of a computer that was stolen from UNC Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in October. The absence of the computer was discovered only recently, prompting alerts to patients as required by federal law governing patient privacy protections, as well as by the N.C. Identity Theft Act.

The computer’s hard drive is password-protected and contains information pertaining to patients seen by the practice through September 2015, when it was acquired by UNC Health Care. The computer’s patient database contains patient names, addresses, phone numbers, employment status, employer names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

The affected patients are being offered free credit monitoring services for one year.

According to the police report filed by the Burlington Police Department, the Oct. 8 theft resulted in the disappearance of a safe, cash, Dell computer and a computer tower. The theft is under investigation.

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski

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