The state of Connecticut is asking Anthem Inc. for more information about a data breach that may have compromised the personal information of tens of millions of its customers.
According to Anthem President and CEO Joseph Swedish, hackers obtained access to “personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data.”
However, Swedish said on Anthem’s website http://www.anthemfacts.com/ that “there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised.”
The company alerted authorities as soon as it saw suspicious activity, according to Sarah Yeager, Anthem’s Connecticut spokeswoman.
“As soon as we learned about the attack, we immediately made every effort to close the security vulnerability, contacted the FBI and began fully cooperating with their investigation. Our parent company has also retained Mandiant, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, to evaluate our systems and identify solutions based on the evolving landscape,” Yeager said.
She said the company plans to notify current and former members and will offer credit monitoring and identity protection services free of charge.
During a Thursday afternoon press conference at the state Capitol in Hartford, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is also an Anthem customer like the 193,000 state employees and retirees, said the number of people impacted in Connecticut is likely “substantial.”
There are about 1.14 million Connecticut residents receiving their healthcare from Anthem that includes the 193,000 state employees and retirees.
“We believe this compromise is deep. It is dangerous and this attack is unacceptable,” Malloy said.
Anthem is the second-largest health insurance company in the United States.
Attorney General George Jepsen said on Wednesday night his office was informed of the Jan. 27 breach and on Thursday he launched an investigation. He said Connecticut is a leader nationally on investigating data breaches.
“Unfortunately, this appears to be one of the largest, most in-depth data breaches in history, not just in the number of people who are directly affected, but in the kinds of information that has been compromised,” Jepsen said. “It appears is may include Social Security numbers as well as personal health information.”
Jepsen said he sent a letter to Anthem Thursday requesting more information about the breach and the circumstances that led to the discovery of the breach, along with measures the health insurance giant is taking to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
In Jepsen’s letter to the company, he asked that all affected patients in Connecticut be provided with two years of credit monitoring services, identity theft insurance, and reimbursement for the costs associated with placing and lifting security freezes.
Jepsen said the company has agreed to provide identity theft protection and credit monitoring for Connecticut customers for a period of two years.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo said he met representatives of Anthem Thursday and they initially called for one year of protection of credit monitoring with a cap of $1 million, but he refused on behalf of state employees and retirees to accept anything less than two years.
“They did agree to offer two years of that service,” for state employees and retirees, Lembo said.
Malloy said he hopes that shortly everyone in Connecticut would receive credit monitoring for two years. Jepsen said he met with Anthem officials Thursday and all 1.14 million Connecticut customers will be covered for two years.
Jepsen encouraged residents who may be affected by the breach to report any suspicious activity on their credit report or other financial accounts to law enforcement authorities. Suspicious activity can also be reported to the Office of the Attorney General’s Privacy Task Force by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 860-808-5318.
Anthem has set up a special website – www.anthemfacts.com – to answer customer questions. Customers can also call Anthem’s special toll-free number 877-263-7995.