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Express Scripts posts $1m reward to net cyber-extortionists

Prescription processing firm wants posse

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A US-based prescription processing and benefits firm has taken the unusual step of offering a $1m bounty for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of an unknown group which targeted it in a cyber-extortion scam.

Express Scripts went public last week with news that it received personal details on 75 end users including, in some cases, prescription data. Blackmailers threatened to expose millions of records they claimed were in their possession unless the firm paid up.

The cyber-extortionists responded to a refusal to pay up by moving onto the customers of Express Scripts with similar threats, sent in letters to these various organisations. Express Scripts responded on Tuesday by upping the ante and offering a $1m reward for information that put the unidentified miscreants behind bars.

In a related move, Express Scripts offered identity restoration services to anyone who becomes a victim of identity theft as a result of its security breach. It has set up a website to provide information to its members - insurance carriers, employers, unions and the like who run health benefit plans - to provide support at esisupports.com. It has also has hired risk consulting firm Kroll to help its members.

The cause of the breach that led to the data leak and the extent of the compromise are still under investigation. Beyond saying it "deploys a variety of security systems designed to protect their members' personal information from unauthorized access", Express Scripts (which handles a reported 50 million prescriptions a year) has said little about the breach or how it intends to prevent a repetition.

As well as posting a reward, Express Scripts has called in the FBI in its attempts to bring the blackmailers threatening its business to book. Anyone with information on that threats is advised to contact the FBI on 800-CALL-FBI. ®

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