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Hackers Reach Tricare Data

A computer security breach at SAIC or Science Applications International Corporation may have exposed data of a certain number of Tricare beneficiaries.

According to analysis, chances of data compromise could be low. However, those beneficiaries of Tricare who were affected have been informed. Personal data relating to approximately 600,000 families listed with Tricare may have been placed at hackers' risk.

The hack was possible because the Department of Defense or SAIC did not comply with the security specifications for storing patient data. A single server of SAIC at Florida held the information. There was no firewall on the server, which also did not have adequate protection for its password. That server is now taken offline.

SAIC processed the data under a number of contracts with military health care. It was likely to contain personal information including beneficiaries' names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and health information to a certain extent.

Tricare is very serious regarding the data compromise, said Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director, TRICARE Management Activity in a press release. Dailypress.com reported this on July 23, 2007. Although the risk due to the incident is considered as low, the Department of Defense is ensuring to constantly inform the affected beneficiaries.

Tricare offers its services to around 182,000 people living in the vicinity of Fort Bragg. Officials at Womack Army Medical Center have not been reported of any complaints since the declaration of the breach on July 20, 2007, they said.

The server being potentially compromised was shut down. So far, no evidence of compromise of any information is noticed, said a Tricare official.

Science Applications International Corp, the contractor, is probing the cause of insufficient security. The organization has sanctioned administrative leave for its employees, according to the Defense department.

SAIC is distributing letters through mail whose senders are Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger and retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold L. Punaro, executive VP of SAIC. These letters are being sent out to nearly 580,000 households informing members about the possible risk. The company is offering people in danger free service for identity restoration for one year.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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