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Cyber security expert: Even encryption no cure-all for Anthem hack

by AirTalk®

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An exterior view of the Anthem Health Insurance headquarters on February 5, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. About 80 million company records were accessed in what may be among the largest healthcare data breaches to date. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

CA's largest for-profit health insurer suffered a massive hack announced yesterday.  Today the questions are about how the stolen personal information of Anthem customers could be used.  

The company claims no health records were accessed, but 80 million Social Security numbers were. It turns out the hacked database wasn’t encrypted but cyber security experts are wondering if  that even would have made a difference.

Consumer Watchdog and Patient Privacy Rights are now calling on Cal INDEX, the health information database created by Anthem and Blue Shield of California, to allow consumers to opt-in rather than force them to opt-out.

What value does that information have for hackers? Why are healthcare companies becoming more attractive targets? Should we take solace in medical records being left alone, or does this raise red flags about protecting that information?

If you are an Anthem customer and you're worried that your data might have been stolen as part of the breach, it is recommended that you initiate a fraud alert with one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion


Sean Hoar, a partner with the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where he counsels health care clients and others on information security and cyber security threats; he’s the former lead cyber attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon

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