Premera Blue Cross is sick after hackers plunder their servers

Over 11 million financial and medical records at risk

Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

Health insurance firm Premera Blue Cross has admitted that it has become the latest victim of data theft after hackers targeted its IT department's servers in what's been dubbed a "sophisticated attack".

On May 5 last year online hackers successfully penetrated Premera's defenses and cracked servers containing personal, financial, and medical data on the health company's current and past customers, as well as its staff. Some of the data dated to 2002. The attack was so cunning the company's IT staff didn't realize something was up until the following January.

In all the hackers got access to over 11 million customer records, including names, dates of birth, email and physical addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, member identification numbers, bank account details, and claims information, including clinical data. Pretty much everything you'd need for identity theft.

"I recognize the frustration that the news of this cyberattack may cause," said Premera president Jeff Roe in a statement.

"The privacy and security of our members' personal information is a top priority for us. As much as possible, we want to make this event our burden, not yours, by making services available to protect you and your information moving forward."

Roe said that the firm was offering two year credit and identity protection for those affected by the breach via Experian.

The data loss isn't as large as the attack on fellow healthcare firm Anthem Blue Cross, where nearly 90 million financial records went missing. But in the Premera hack also took medical records and these could be especially useful for healthcare fraud. ®


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