A health insurance company, based in New York, says cyberattackers could have exposed the records of up to 10.5 million people. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s investigation revealed that the initial attack dates back to December 2013.
Attackers may have gained access to such personally identifying information (PII) as members’ names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, as well as mailing addresses and telephone numbers.
Excellus said in an online statement that it discovered the attack on its IT systems only last month, after which it notified the FBI. The company has brought in cybersecurity firm Mandiant to conduct its investigation and to fix issues created by the attack.
Excellus says it began notifying affected individuals yesterday and is offering them two years of identity theft protection. The company has also established a dedicated call center for those individuals. The number is (877) 589-3331.
While significant in that the cyberattack involves members’ Social Security numbers, the Excellus breach affects far fewer victims than the Anthem insurance breach earlier this year. That breach exposed records fo some 80 million people.
If you or someone you know was compromised in this breach, here are a few tips to get you through the near future:
- Change ALL of your passwords, and change any password reset questions that can be easily answered with compromised information. Make those changes right now. Start with financial passwords, then email, and then social media accounts. Ideally, use a reputable password manager that auto-generates long and strong passwords.
- Look for discrepancies in your financial accounts. If a transaction isn’t familiar, contact your bank or credit card company.
- Be on the alert for signs that new accounts have been opened up in your name.
- Take advantage of the free protection offered by Excellus. (You may also want to consider LifeLock’s identity theft protection services. We can not only help detect and alert you to possible identity theft, but also help restore your identity if it’s ever compromised.)
- If you notice anything suspicious, don’t wait to act. Follow up on anything related to your identity or financial accounts that seems out of the ordinary.
Even if you’re not affected by this breach, you may be concerned about managing your identity. Take the Life Lock Identity Risk Quiz to help assess how your behaviors may affect your identity theft risk.
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Posted by Cory Warren, editor of LifeLock.
Photo Credit: LifeLock.