Data breaches of payment cards at national retailers and hack attacks on banks have made headlines for several months, but this time it’s the second-largest U.S. health insurer, Anthem Inc., that’s been the victim of a massive cybertheft.
As many as 80 million customers have had their account information stolen, the company said in a statement.
According to a statement by Joseph R. Swedish, Anthem President and CEO, hackers gained access to “names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data.”
“Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack,” Swedish said
At this time, Anthem sais that there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes, were targeted or compromised.
The hackers gained access to Anthem’s computer system.
The hacked database had records for about 80 million people “but we are still investigating to determine how many were impacted. At this point we believe it was tens of millions,” said Cindy Wakefield, an Anthem spokeswoman.
That would make the Anthem breach the largest health care breach to date, experts believe.
Since no actual medical information appears to have been stolen, the breach would not come under HIPAA rules, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which governs the confidentiality and security of medical information.
Here is what Anthem is doing for affected customers:
“Anthem will individually notify current and former members whose information has been accessed. We will provide credit monitoring and identity protection services free of charge so that those who have been affected can have peace of mind. We have created a dedicated website – www.AnthemFacts.com – where members can access information such as frequent questions and answers. We have also established a dedicated toll-free number that both current and former members can call if they have questions related to this incident. That number is: 1-877-263-7995. As we learn more, we will continually update this website and share that information you.”