AGs secure $39.5M from Anthem over 2014 data breach

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Virginia has joined a bipartisan 43-state multistate coalition reaching a $39.5 million settlement with Anthem over its massive 2014 data breach that involved the personal information of 78.8 million Americans.

As part of the settlement, Anthem has also agreed to implement a series of data security and good governance practices designed to strengthen its practices going forward.

As its share of the settlement, Virginia will receive $1,404,487.61 for the nearly 3.8 million Virginians who were affected by the data breach. Anthem is Virginia’s largest insurer and the second largest insurer in the nation.

“Almost 3.8 million Virginians had their personal information compromised because of Anthem’s failure to implement adequate information security programs,” Attorney General Mark Herring said. “In this day and age, when most of our personal information is digitized, I expect businesses of all sizes to make securing this data a top priority. While I hope that this settlement helps Virginians who were affected by this data breach, I want to also urge consumers to remain vigilant and continue to monitor all health records and financial statements.”

In 2015, Anthem disclosed that cyber attackers had infiltrated its systems beginning in February 2014, using malware installed through a phishing email. The attackers were ultimately able to gain access to Anthem’s data warehouse, where they harvested names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, healthcare identification numbers, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and employment information for 78.8 million Americans.

Under the settlement, Anthem has agreed to a series of provisions designed to strengthen its security practices going forward. Those include:

  • A prohibition against misrepresentations regarding the extent to which Anthem protects the privacy and security of personal information
  • Implementation of a comprehensive information security program, incorporating principles of zero trust architecture, and including regular security reporting to the Board of Directors and prompt notice of significant security events to the CEO
  • Specific security requirements with respect to segmentation, logging and monitoring, anti-virus maintenance, access controls and two factor authentication, encryption, risk assessments, penetration testing, and employee training, among other requirements
  • Third-party security assessments and audits for three (3) years, as well as a requirement that Anthem make its risk assessments available to a third-party assessor during that term

In the immediate wake of the breach, at the request of the states, Anthem offered an initial two years of credit monitoring to all affected U.S. individuals.

In addition to this settlement, Anthem previously entered into a class action settlement that established a $115 million settlement fund to pay for additional credit monitoring, cash payments of up to $50, and reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses for affected consumers. The deadlines for consumers to submit claims under that settlement have since passed.

The Office of the Attorney General works to ensure that companies hit by database breaches comply with Virginia law by notifying affected Virginians. Because data breaches lead to an increased risk of identity theft and fraud, all Virginians should regularly monitor their financial accounts and credit reports. 

Free credit reports may be obtained here.

 


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