Hackers Have Breached Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood's recent security breach on the night of Sunday, July 26 caused heated controversy that is still boiling for activists on both sides. So far, email addresses and names of employees have been leaked as well as the non-profit's website databases. However, there have been no leaks of any patient's personal data. Planned Parenthood's affiliate organizations were also safe from the attack.
The breach has sparked questions about Planned Parenthood's vulnerable data security system. With the tension growing between the organization's proponents and opponents, Planned Parenthood seems to be receiving more bad publicity than ever before. The system's compromise apparently went unnoticed by Tom Subak, the organization's Chief Information Officer. Subak said that he believed they had "good security" and that no red flags were raised in regards to any sort of vulnerability or flat-out data breach.
An anti-abortion activist group with a mysterious leader named "E" took responsibility for the cyber attack. When E spoke to the Daily Dot, it was revealed that the hack had been politically motivated. After making the confession, E went on to say that Planned Parenthood had been engaging in "ominous" practices that needed to be "stripped naked and exposed" for the entire world, pro-life and pro-choice alike, to witness.
Shortly after this activist group claimed responsibility, the Daily Dot was contacted by Dawn Laguens, another top-tier employee in the organization. She informed the reporter that these claims were being investigated. Laguens also said she wasn't surprised by the anti-abortion activities, stating that the non-profit organization's opponents were stooping to a "new low."
People who were opposed to Planned Parenthood grew more vocal in early July when anti-abortion activists released an edited video that portrayed one of the organization's directors in a negative light. The video showed the director having a matter-of-fact discussion about one of Planned Parenthood's most contentious current practices: donating the tissue and organs of aborted fetuses to medical researchers.
Although there are no laws against the practice, opponents have been putting Planned Parenthood in the spotlight with bad publicity ever since the video's release. Some former supporters have even shown distaste for this practice; many were not aware that this was occurring before they saw the video. The video has resulted in multiple accusations of deception against Planned Parenthood.
The activist group that claimed responsibility for this hack also told the Daily Dot that it plans to release Planned Parenthood's internal emails next. The alleged hackers are claiming to have used the Blind SQL exploit to access Planned Parenthood's secure information. However, people on both sides are expressing skepticism about this and wonder how such a large national organization could be susceptible to this type of hack.
The hackers have also said that they originally planned to either vandalize Planned Parenthood's homepage or redirect visitors to the activist group's Twitter page. However, according to E, this supposedly could not be accomplished because some aspects of Planned Parenthood's website had low-quality configuration. This configuration barred the group from obtaining more administrative access.
According to top officials, Planned Parenthood is doing what it can to contain the security breach. No personal patient data was ever leaked, and information systems specialists are working to patch up the security holes that are still existent. Whether or not this will be enough to contain the breach remains to be seen.
Technological experts throughout the nation have suggested that Planned Parenthood acquire higher quality data security services. Several top-notch services are suitable for large organizations. One of these is Netlok, which is a brand new service that offers secure storage of private data, documents and more.