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Unknown number of Okanagan residents personal information exposed in data breach

Click to play video: 'What happened at LifeLabs?' What happened at LifeLabs?
What happened at LifeLabs? – Dec 18, 2019

UPDATE: Valley Medical Laboratories now believes potentially one out of every eight patients they see at Okanagan locations had a test sent to LifeLabs.

Interior Health (IHA) has no estimate of how many patients in the region rely on test results from LifeLab but an IHA spokesperson said about a third of British Columbians have had tests performed by the company.

“We are constantly monitoring cyber security,” Tim Conrad said.

“The records on the My Help portal are all encrypted,” he said.

IHA is adding another layer of encryption to health records it stores in light of the LifeLab hack, according to Conrad.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Valley Medical Laboratories (VML) says it is unknown how many residents in B.C.’s Southern Interior had their personal and medical information exposed in the massive LifeLabs data breach.

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The Kelowna-based company has 14 collection locations between Osoyoos and Lumby, according to its website.

Two days after the LifeLabs data breach story broke and Global News made an inquiry, a VML spokesperson responded to the question of how many Okanagan residents may be among the 15 million Canadians potentially affected.

READ MORE: LifeLabs reveals data breach, possibly affecting up to 15 million Canadians

“Valley Medical Laboratories does refer some patient samples (with relevant patient information) out to LifeLabs for the small number of tests that are not done in Kelowna,” Jason Doyle, Valley Medical Laboratories medical director, told Global News.

“The patients attached to these samples potentially have their personal information compromised as part of the LifeLabs cyber-attack.”

However, Valley Medical Laboratories does not have a readily available database of the tests from the Okanagan it outsourced to LifeLabs locations in Canada, he said.

The number of affected customers is a mystery to them at this point, he said.

“We are currently investigating if and how we can identify these patients in our system for possible notification,” Doyle said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner launches inquiry into Lifelabs breach

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No one would be made available for an interview with Global News on the matter, according to Doyle, as they are “still discussing the best approach” with their legal counsel.

“For now, we have been referring patients with such inquiries to the LifeLabs website and customer care centre,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Cyberattack compromises data of 15 million LifeLabs customers' Cyberattack compromises data of 15 million LifeLabs customers
Cyberattack compromises data of 15 million LifeLabs customers – Dec 17, 2019

Valley Medical Laboratories said it will be issuing a statement on its website “in the near future.”

LifeLabs has set up a phone line to handle inquiries about personal information being exposed in the cyber-hack in late October.

READ MORE: LifeLabs hack: What Canadians need to know about the health data breach

A Vernon woman who pursued the matter through the dedicated LifeLabs call centre — but wanted to remain anonymous to protect her privacy — said while LifeLabs offered her free identity theft protection and dark web monitoring for a year, the service from TransUnion comes with a monthly fee after the 12 months.

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“This could ultimately cost me in the long run,” she said.

Global News has reached out to TransUnion over her concerns with its protocols to register her for the service.

“The agent wouldn’t give me his employee number,” she said. “I’m now scared this is a big scam.”

A notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday proposes a class-action lawsuit over LifeLabs’ failure to keep private information of customers secure and confidential.

READ MORE: B.C. man takes LifeLabs to court over data breach in proposed class action lawsuit

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