Security Breach at West Coast Insurer May Have Wider Impact

Security Breach at West Coast Insurer May Have Wider Impact

Premera Blue Cross

A security breach at a West Coast Health Insurer may have a wider impact. 

Premera Blue Cross—a health insurance company with customers in Alaska and Washington State—discovered a cyber-attack late January that affects approximately 11 million people.

Vice President of Corporate Communications Eric Earling told WXXI, "If someone is a member of a different Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan, but may have sought medical services in Washington or Alaska during that time period they may have been affected as well, which is why we made the announcement across the country and are providing people with services effective immediately."

Ed Holden, professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, says there are requirements for personal data to be encrypted, but hackers can still find ways in.

"One small loophole is all that's really needed," said Holden.

The breach exposed personal and banking information, but also some clinical data going back to 2002. So far there is no evidence that the information has been used.

Local Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer, Excellus, is an independent company. They released a statement saying are invested in the security of their members and are monitoring the situation closely. 

Michelle Faust/WXXI News