The second-largest American health insurer, Anthem, is at the center of the most recent data breach in the United States, which has affected about 80 million people with the leak of personal information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, email addresses, and employment information. Announced in February of 2015, this attack is suspected to have begun at least six weeks prior to the discovery of the breach. Here is a closer look at the details of this cyber attack, which may still have lingering effects for Anthem and affected individuals.
Extensive data losses
Not only is Anthem one of the largest health insurance providers in the nation, but it houses information from a number of smaller independent providers, which has driven the number of impacted individuals to about 80 million. Some of the individuals affected were previously unaware that their information was stored with Anthem until alerts of the breach were mailed to customers. While the attack is still under investigation, there is indication that phishing may have been involved with employees who have high level IT access.
Because many customers are at risk of identity theft, Anthem has offered free credit monitoring and resources to help detect fraud with leaked personal information. Unfortunately, these tools do not actually prevent the use of personal data, they only alert individuals faster when suspicious activity has taken place.
Common breach patterns
Anthem is not the first company to fall victim to a massive cyber attack with losses of this magnitude. However, the company has come under criticism due to the lack of security measures that may have limited this attack and the typical response offered to consumers. Historically, companies will offer free credit monitoring and make immediate attempts to reach out to consumers, but measures are not always taken to prevent attacks of the same nature in the future.
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This article is part of our collection of WORLD FAMOUS SECURITY BREACHES!