Hackers steal personal information from Anthem customers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The nation's second-largest health insurer has become the latest target for hackers, as many experts believe this could be the largest health care breach in history.
Social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, employment and income information were stolen. Anthem says up to 80 million customers could be affected.
The company runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in more than a dozen states. The insurer has more than 900,000 customers in Kentucky alone.
University of Louisville computer engineer professor Adrian Lauf says 2014 was a big year for cyber attacks. Customers at Target, Home Depot, and E-Bay had their credit card information compromised, but Lauf says the Anthem breach is far worse.
"This is not a credit card number," he said. "You can't change your social security number over night. You can't change your birthday. These are facts not easily modifiable."
Anthem says they are still trying to identify which customers have been affected. According to a statement on Anthem's website, the FBI is conducting a full investigation. Meanwhile, Anthem says it has retained Mandiant, one of the world's leading cybersecurity firms, to evaluate its system.
Law professor Michael Losavio says with the information obtained, thieves could easily open a credit card or take out a loan worth tens of thousands of dollars.
"There are online marketplaces for this kind of information," said Law professor Michael Losavio. "Once that's obtained, it can then be sold back to people in the United States who can use it to create false profiles."
Impacted customers will be contacted by mail. A website has been created to provide a credit monitoring service for those affected. Also, the company has set up a hotline for those worried they might have been affected: (877) 263-7995.
If you are a current or past Anthem customer, the Federal Trade Commission suggests placing a fraud alert on your credit report, check your credit report several times in next couple of years, and create an identity theft report.
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