Acuity Brand press release addresses two hacking incidents from 2020 and 2021

Today’s reminder that a lot of businesses have health plans for their employees.

Acuity Brands in Georgia has issued a press release with the results of its investigations into two breaches that they report were unrelated.

From their statement:

The investigation determined that an unauthorized person obtained access to some of Acuity’s systems on December 7 and December 8, 2021, and copied a subset of files out of its network during that time. During the investigation, Acuity also discovered evidence of an unrelated incident of unauthorized access that occurred on October 6 and October 7, 2020, which included an attempt to copy certain files out of its network. Acuity conducted a review of the files from both incidents. The review identified that they contained personal information for current and former employees and members of Acuity’s health plan. Our investigation concluded that only employee data was involved and sensitive customer data was not impacted.

But when did Acuity first become aware of the December 2021 incident and how did it become aware of it? They do not reveal that. Why did it take almost a full year since the breach for them to disclose? Did they only find out a month ago? A few months ago? When?

DataBreaches contacted Acuity to request clarification, and they provided the following statement:

In December of 2021, Acuity Brands communicated to its associates, agents, customers, channel partners, and others that it identified a data security incident. We took immediate steps to secure our systems and worked with a third-party cybersecurity firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Our investigation revealed that only associate information was involved, sensitive customer data was not impacted, and the incident did not have a material impact on Acuity Brands’ business.

This notification is a follow-up to notify those associates who were impacted, provide necessary resources and inform them of the measures the Company took to support them.

The types of information involved in the incidents varied:

The files involved in the December 2021 incident may have included the name, Social Security number, and enrollment and claims information related to current and former employees’ participation in Acuity’s health plan. In addition, the information in the files may have included the name, driver’s license number, financial account information, and limited health information related to other aspects of an individual’s employment with Acuity, such as injury information related to workers compensation claims or related to requests for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

…. The information involved in the October 2020 incident may have included the name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, financial account information, limited health information related to other aspects of an individual’s employment with Acuity, such as injury information related to workers compensation claims or related to requests for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The types of information in the files were not the same for all individuals, but the investigation confirmed that there was no information related to Acuity’s health plan involved in the 2020 incident.

So was the 2021 incident a reportable breach under HIPAA?  Was HHS notified? DataBreaches had also posed that question to Acuity, but there was no answer to that part of the inquiries.

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