| Individuals September 7, 2017

September 7, 2017

Anthem breach shows how personal data can leak in seconds

By Lookout

Doctor and tablet

Anthem BlueCross BlueShield reported a breach impacting over 18,000 customers in August, further proving that breaches can be caused by a number of different actions, both malicious and non-malicious.

The company explained in a blog post that its Medicare insurance coordination vendor LaunchPoint Ventures, "recently found a privacy incident that affects approximately 18,580 Medicare members."

It also information customers that LaunchPoint Ventures would reach out directly to impacted customers. The vendor's investigation indicated that the source of the breach was a now-terminated  employee who may have emailed themselves a file with personal data including:

  • Medicare ID numbers, (which includes a Social Security number)
  • Health plan ID numbers (HCID)
  • Medicare contract numbers
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Limited numbers of last names and birthdates
Risky employee behaviors can lead to full-scale data breaches

This breach highlights how data breaches can come from a single insider threat can become a large scale breach. Not all malicious actors look like characters from Mr. Robot or House of Cards. In this case, it seems like an employee's behavior led to the compromise of tens of thousands of customers' data.

It's important to note that this breach came through a vendor, meaning Anthem itself wasn't compromised, but its customer data was. Companies often outsource or subcontract tasks to vendors who then collect and store customer or company data in order to perform their services.

Trusting a company with your data means trusting their vendors, as well.

Since breaches can happen at any time, it's important to have someone to turn to — Lookout Premium Plus offers 24/7 U.S.-based phone support as well as Breach Report, keeping you up to date on the latest breaches impacting your data. This Anthem BlueCross BlueShield breach is a great example of the roundabout ways data can fall into the wrong hands.

Upgrade to Premium Plus to stay on top of the breaches that may directly impact your information.