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Anthem, a Health Insurer, Attacked with Massive Data Breach

Reuters.com published news on 5th February, 2015 quoting the company as "hackers have stolen personal information relating to current and former customers and staff of no. 2 U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc. after breaching an IT system consisting data of around 80 million people."

Anthem, having millions of customers in the United States, said that it had reported to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) about the attack and cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. confirmed that it had been hired to investigate the attack and to help Anthem.

Reuters.com published news on 5th February, 2015 quoting Vitor De Souza, Spokesman of FireEye, as saying "We do confirm that this was done by an advanced group using custom malware and employees of Anthem identified the breach which was limited to a window for few days."

Securityweek.com published news on 5th February, 2015 quoting Joseph R. Swedish, President and CEO of Anthem as elaborating "attackers gained access to names, medical IDs/social security numbers, dates of birth, email addresses, addresses and employment information (including income data) of current and former members."

There is no evidence which can suggest that medical information and credit card details like test results or diagnostics codes and claims have been accessed by the attackers. Swedish said in a statement that the company has taken steps to close the security hole exploited by the malicious actors.

Targeted individuals will receive a letter via email with an offer of protecting identity and services for monitoring credit free of charge and members having any questions about the incident are requested to call 1-877-263-7995.

Experts advise affected customers to be aware of emails or calls regarding this incident because they are most likely fraudulent.

There is no information about how exact penetration in Anthem's defenses happened but going by the past record, the hackers could have penetrated in many ways. For example, the hackers attacked T J Maxx and exploited weaknesses in the wireless network of the retailer while the gang which broke into heartland Payment Systems and exploited SQL injection vulnerability in a website to install malware which sniffed credit card data. Hackers of Target, in the meantime, gained access by using authenticated credentials stolen from ventilation, heating and air-conditioning subcontractor.

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