Lawsuit claims workers comp insurers hacked into injured workers’ files

Donna Mahoney reports:

A California worker claims in a federal lawsuit that three of the largest workers compensation insurance companies in California illegally hacked over 32,000 confidential workers comp files.

A lawsuit, which seeks class action status, was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Homestate, San Francisco-based Cypress Insurance, Woodland Hills, California-based Zenith Insurance, Palmdale, California-based HQSU Sign Up Services Inc. and two California private investigators hired by the insurers. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the alleged breach of personal information found in workers comp files.

Read more on Business Insurance.

This one sounds like it may have legs. Mahoney reports that with respect to the two investigators, one of whom was reportedly employed by Berkshire Hathaway and the other, who is reportedly employed by Zenith Insurance Company:

Mr. Reynolds has admitted to the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to downloading over 33,000 workers comp files, the complaint reads. Mr. Glover also admitted to downloading workers comp files in a sworn deposition in a Los Angeles Superior Court case in 2015, according to court filings.

According to the complaint, the client records were hosted on HQSU’s server with only a username and password required to access and download lots of sensitive information on the clients such as home address, telephone numbers, birth date, Social Security number, email address, legal status, drivers license information, medical information, employment information, salary information and other personal information. The complaint also alleges that there is a video documenting the hack

which Plaintiff’s experts have identified as a directory traversal attack. Directory traversal is an HTTP exploit which allows attackers to access restricted directories and execute commands outside of the web server’s root directory.

The case is Adela Gonzalez v. Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies et al in the Central District of California, 2:16-cv-02690-DMG-RAO. The complaint alleges:

(1) Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. §1030 et seq.)
(2) Violation of Unlawful Access to Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. §2701 et seq.)
(3) Violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§2510 et seq.
(4) Invasion of Privacy (Public Disclosure of Private Facts)
(5) Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
(6) Violation of the California Computer Data Access and Fraud Act (Cal. Penal Code §502 et seq.)

About the author: Dissent