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Database Security

3/17/2015
04:30 PM
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Two More Health Insurers Report Data Breach

Premera Blue Cross and LifeWise say 11.25 million customers' records might have been exposed.

Today, medical insurance providers LifeWise and Premera Blue Cross each reported, separately, that they had been the target of sophisticated cyberattacks, which initiated May 5, 2014. Premera will be notifying approximately 11 million affected customers; LifeWise 250,000. Neither organization has evidence that any customer data has been used fraudulently, and has not yet confirmed that any patient data has indeed been compromised.

They say attackers "may have gained unauthorized access to" members' information, including name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, email address, telephone number, member identification number, bank account information, and claims information, including clinical information.

Individuals who do not have medical insurance through these companies, but do other business with them, might have had their email addresses, banking data, or Social Security numbers exposed.  

These attacks, when combined with the Anthem Healthcare breach reported last month and the Community Health Systems breach in the summer, clearly indicate that health insurance providers have become a popular new target -- and Chinese cyberespionage groups are being implicated. 

Anthem first detected suspicious activity Jan. 27 and confirmed on Jan. 29 that an attack had occurred, over the course of several weeks in December 2014.

LifeWise and Premera also say they discovered their breaches Jan. 29 -- possibly as a result of Anthem sharing information about their own intrusion with HITRUST's Cyber Threat Intelligence and Incident Coordination Center. However, after investigations by Mandiant -- the same organization conducting the investigation at Anthem -- both Premera and LifeWise report that their first intrusions occurred several months earlier, in May.

Both Premera and LifeWise are providing two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to affected individuals. More information is available at premeraupdate.com and lifewiseupdate.com

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio
 

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ajones980
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ajones980,
User Rank: Strategist
3/19/2015 | 1:48:05 PM
Not two companies - the same one, same breach.
Lifewise & Premera are basically the same company. Note that their careers links take you to a premera.com job site. This, combined with the same content at premeraupdate.com and lifewiseupdate.com, appears to show that this is one attack on one target.
SgS125
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SgS125,
User Rank: Ninja
3/18/2015 | 10:48:01 AM
Lifetime?
I agree that the free monitoring will not really help for most cases of fraud and abuse of PII, but what about having to show damage if you require a company to provide you with lifetime protection?

 

There are many cases of data breach in 2014, not all lead to financial loss of identity theft.

 

Perhaps if someone wins a lawsuit showing some strong evidence of lifelong risk of loss then we can make the solution fit the problem.

 

You will always have the risk of Identity Theft even if your information was not lost in a data breach.  A dedicated foe can cause as much damage as a script kiddie using SQL injection. 
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2015 | 8:54:02 AM
Re: Your rights when critical data is stolen; demand fair compensation
@xmarksthespot  Well, I agree with you, that one or two year/s of credit monitoring doesn't help all that much if Social Security numbers were compromised, because SSNs last forever. They might get stolen today and still be used fraudulently 10 years from now.

I doubt there will come a time when companies are required to do as you suggest, but maybe if they were, they would be inspired to invest in more security measures.
xmarksthespot
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xmarksthespot,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2015 | 9:34:47 PM
Your rights when critical data is stolen; demand fair compensation
I'll state my bias, since that's appropriate in this case.  I am an information security professional.  However, I am also a person very interested in consumer issues and consumer rights.

You have rights as a customer of organizations which failed basic security in their infrastructure.  Basic prevention techniques could have made exploitation much more difficult.  Do you think 1 year of credit monitoring will fully protect you?  The answer it is not even remotely close to even the basic protection required.   Identify theft may be the least of their worries.  In some of these cases there are bank account numbers floating around.

This is getting to be a major confidence issue on the banking system.

At a minimum, I feel lifetime credit protection should be mandated, and the ability to pay for lifetime credit locks.  That is the absolute most basic thing they should pay.  What would that cost?  Well, to lock credit reports is $5 or more for each one (at this time).  In addition, if you want a loan or needed a credit check, you have to pay for unlocks.  Is it your fault you need that unlock?  Demand an adequate amount of money to pay for lifetime credit locks and unlocks and credit monitoring.  Even with credit locks, the credit is opened for a window of time where others could exploit it.  This is serious and corporations shouldn't be trying to weasel their way out of their liability by offering one year of credit monitoring.
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