Medical insurer and their customers are latest cyber crime victims
Anthem, Inc., one of the country’s biggest health insurance companies, is the latest victim of a major data breach by cyber criminals. Anthem confirmed that customer and employee personal information was compromised. What’s different about this attack is that the criminals can use the stolen information to access medical care and buy prescription drugs.
The database that was hacked includes 80 million records of current and past insurance customers and employees, according to Anthem. The accessed information included names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, street and email addresses, as well as employee income and other employment-related data. Apparently, no medical data or financial records were breached.
Anthem contacted the FBI as soon as suspicious activity in the network was spotted, which is exactly what companies should do, according to FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. Time is of the essence in these circumstances because cyber criminals act fast to destroy the evidence of their intrusions, including any identifiable traces of the criminals themselves.
The cost of a cyber breach
Anthem has hired a leading cyber-security firm to reevaluate the company computer system and look for ways to prevent future hacks. This is just the first of many costly steps companies need to take in the wake of a data breach. Small businesses are actually more vulnerable to cyber attacks because they usually lack the necessary protection and/or think “it’ll never happen to me,” making them prime targets for savvy criminals.
The Anthem attack is a reminder of the relentless threats businesses and individuals face. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas is working toward improved cyber security laws. McCaul, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, wants Congress to remove the current legal obstacles for sharing information about cyber threats.
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