“Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack,”said Swedish in the statement posted on a dedicated website the company created for information about the incident.
According to the NH Union Leader, all of Anthem’s 290,000 customers are potentially affected by the breach
Hackers gained access to Anthem’s computer system and got information including names, birthdays, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and employment information, including income data, Swedish said.
The affected database had records for approximately 80 million people in it, “but we are still investigating to determine how many were impacted. At this point we believe it was tens of millions,” said Cindy Wakefield, an Anthem spokeswoman.
This is the the largest health care breach to date, according to Vitor De Souza, a spokesman for Mandiant, the computer security company Anthem has hired to evaluate its systems.
No credit card information was obtained, and no personal medical information was breached affecting the current Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which governs the confidentiality and security of medical information.
The hackers were probably not interested in medical information about Anthem’s customers, said Tim Eades, CEO of computer security firm vArmour in Mountain View, Calif.
“The personally identifiable information they got is a lot more valuable than the fact that I stubbed my toe yesterday and broke it,” he said.
Both current and former customers were hit, Swedish said.
Anthem has established a website, www.anthemfacts.com, where members can access information about the breach. There is also a toll-free number for current and former members to call, 877-263-7995.
Customers whose information has been stolen should report any suspected instances of identity theft to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov, Campbell said.
“The Anthem insurance company breach is another in a long line of breaches that continue to have a deep and disheartening effect on consumer behavior and the smooth flow of commerce both here at home and worldwide,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security.