Thursday, February 5, 2015

We'll await clarification

You may have seen the headline about the comprise of health care records of patients at Anthem Blue Cross. Many UC employees and retirees had coverage under Anthem Blue Cross in the past, even if they have been shifted, or shifted themselves, to other carriers. According to the LA Times:

“Cyber attackers executed a very sophisticated attack to gain unauthorized access" to one of the company's computer systems and "have obtained personal information relating to consumers and Anthem Blue Cross employees who are currently covered, or who have received coverage in the past,” Indianapolis-based Anthem said in a statement...  [Underline added]

 Full story at

The article goes on to make a somewhat confusing reference to Blue Shield patients:

...(T)he company warned that it also had information in its database on other Blue Cross Blue Shield patients from all 50 states who had sought care in its coverage area...

Technology experts said the Anthem incident could become one of the largest data breaches ever pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation. "If confirmed, we are dealing with one of the biggest data breaches in history and probably the biggest data breach in the healthcare industry,” said Jaime Blasco, vice president and chief scientist at AlienVault, a San Mateo, Calif., information security firm. “For individuals, in a few words, it is a nightmare," he said. "If the attackers had access to names, birthdays, addresses and Social Security numbers, it means that information can be easily used to carry out identity theft schemes.”

It would be helpful if UCOP provided some further information as it becomes available concerning any impact on UC employees and retirees beyond what is contained in news articles. Individuals can protect themselves from ID theft by freezing access to their credit records at the three credit rating companies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Once you do so, however, you will have to unfreeze access if you apply for a new credit card, car loan, mortgage, etc.

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