Premera Blue Cross hacked and medical information exposed

Premera Blue Cross hacked and the health insurer is the latest victim of a cyberattack and it may have exposed over 11 million personal records of medical data and financial information.

Premera immediately hired FireEye Inc. which is an industry leading security company that provides threat forensics and malware protection against threats. FireEye Inc. is working closely with the FBI to investigate the security breach.

The recent cyber-attack has affected Premera Blue Cross as well as Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions.

This cyber-attack is one of the largest breaches in the industry involving patient medical information.  According to the report, the attack began back in May 2014 and cybercriminals may have gained access to claims data, clinical information, banking account numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates and other sensitive data.

About 6 million of the accounts that were hacked were residents of Washington state and employees of Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Starbucks. The remainder of the accounts are spread out across the United States and there is no indication of Canadian information being involved.

Cyber criminals go after medical records as they very valuable on underground criminal exchanges where stolen data is sold because the information is not only highly confidential, it can also be used to engage in insurance fraud.

According to Premera Blue Cross, they have stated that there is no evidence that any member data was “used inappropriately” to date.

The breach was discovered on January 29th, 2015 which is the same day that insurer Anthem Inc. disclosed a cyberattack involving records over 79 million members in Blue Cross Blue Shield plans across the United States.

Premera Blue Cross has stated that the two recent attacks are completely unrelated and that it has independently identified the breach.

With this recent cyberattack, you can expect other healthcare companies and insurance carriers to review their own IT infrastructure and test their network to uncover the possibly of possible intrusions.

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