The massive computer breach against Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurer, exposes a growing cyberthreat facing health-care companies that experts say often are not prepared for large attacks, reports the Washington Post. Hackers gained access to the private data of 80 million former and current members and employees of Anthem in one of the history’s largest medical-related cyber-intrusions. Authorities said the breach, which was discovered last month and disclosed this week, did not involve private health records or credit card numbers but did expose Social Security numbers, income data, birthdays, and street and e-mail addresses.
Investigators suspect Chinese hackers may be responsible for the breach. There are also some indications that other health-care companies may have been targeted. Security experts said health care has become one of the ripest targets for hackers because of its vast stores of lucrative financial and medical information. Health insurers and hospitals have often struggled to mount the kinds of defenses used by large financial or retail companies, leaving key medical information vulnerable. “Health-care records are the new credit cards,” said Ben Johnson, chief security strategist at cybersecurity firm Bit9 + Carbon Black. “If someone gets your credit card number, you cancel it. If you have HIV, and that gets out, there's no getting that back.”