Sometimes doing the right thing can be costly.
In the wake of increasing attacks on health insurers (e.g., Anthem, Premera), CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield retained Mandiant to do an end-to-end assessment of their information security environment. The assessment included multiple scans to determine if there was any evidence of any attack.
On April 21, 2015, Mandiant uncovered evidence of an attack that occurred on June 19, 2014 and that resulted in limited unauthorized access to a database used for a website accessed by registered CareFirst brokers. The attackers could have been able to access the names, usernames, and Social Security numbers. The attackers would not have been able to obtain other information, however, because the companion passwords for the usernames were encrypted and stored in a separate system.
CareFirst notified approximately 1.1 million current and former brokers and members of the breach and offered them two years of Experian’s ProtectMyID services.
Mandiant reportedly found no evidence of any other compromise or breach in their systems.
Kudos to CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for investing in this type assessment of their security and then for responding to the findings in a matter of weeks.
Note: this breach had previously been reported on this site, including the fact that CareFirst had thought it had remedied the breach but hadn’t when it was first discovered. The point of this blog post is to stress the value of bringing in outside experts to assess your system.