Insurer Settlement Leads Breach Roundup

Anthem BC to Pay Penalty; Hacktivists Leak University Records
Insurer Settlement Leads Breach Roundup

In this week's breach roundup, California Attorney General Kamala Harris has entered into a settlement with Anthem Blue Cross in a data breach case involving Social Security numbers exposed through a mailing error. Also, hacktivists claimed to have accessed 120,000 records from major universities.

See Also: The Global State of Online Digital Trust

Anthem Blue Cross Fined

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has entered into a settlement with Anthem Blue Cross in a data breach case involving the insurer mailing almost 34,000 letters printed with the Social Security numbers of certain members viewable through the envelopes' windows.

Under the terms of the settlement recently filed in Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, Anthem Blue Cross, also known as California Blue Cross, agreed to pay a $150,000 penalty.

The privacy breach case involved a marketing letter Anthem Blue Cross sent in April 2011 to more than 31,000 Medicare supplemental coverage members and more than 2,600 payment collection letters to Medicare Part D members mailed between December 2011 and March 2012.

The state charged that Anthem Blue Cross' "acts and practices of unfair competition" violated state privacy laws regarding printing and publicly displaying Social Security numbers.

Hacktivists Leak University Records

In what has been called Project WestWind, hacktivists using the name TeamGhostShell claim to have leaked information gathered from the top 100 universities around the world.

According to a post on Pastebin, the hackers leaked more than 120,000 accounts and records from top universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, Stanford and Princeton, to name a few.

"We have set out to raise awareness towards the changes made in today's education, how new laws imposed by politicians affect us, our economy and overall, our way of life," the hackers said.

It's unclear what specific information was breached or how the attackers conducted their operation.

White House Breach Confirmed

Hackers linked to the Chinese government broke into the computer network of the White House Military Office. The White House confirms that it identified a spear-phishing attack against an unclassified network, isolated the targeted system from the network and determined no data have been exfiltrated.

What makes this story ordinary is that such digital assaults happen all the time, a fact a White House official voluntarily points out. "These types of attacks are not infrequent, and we have mitigation measures in place," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says.

Mailing Error Exposes SSNs

The University of Chicago is notifying its 9,100 employees of a mailing error that exposed their Social Security numbers.

UC sent out postcards to employees as a reminder about enrolling for 2013 health benefits, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The postcard included the recipients' nine-digit Social Security numbers. The university is offering one year of free credit monitoring services for all affected employees.

About the Author

Jeffrey Roman

Jeffrey Roman

News Writer, ISMG

Roman is the former News Writer for Information Security Media Group. Having worked for multiple publications at The College of New Jersey, including the College's newspaper "The Signal" and alumni magazine, Roman has experience in journalism, copy editing and communications.

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