Recent Cyber Attacks Showcase Need To Keep Personally Identifiable Information Safe And Secure

Cyber attacks have been the focus of several prominent stories lately, creating confusion and scares for both organizations and consumers, including in the healthcare payer industry. Ameridial is hands on with the success of such companies, and is taking an active stance to help them emerge more secure and informed, particularly as it relates to personally identifiable information (PII).

The cyber attacks have been against Sony, as well as the more recent cyber attack several months ago on Anthem, Inc., a large national healthcare payer. Anthem, Inc.'s companies include names such as Amerigroup, Anthem, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, amongst others. More than 80 million people have potentially had their information compromised.

What all of these cyber attacks in quick succession showcase is the great need for the increased safety and security of PII. While it's one thing to have an email address stolen from an online database, and receive unwanted SPAM or solicitation emails, it's quite another to have information such as a social security number stolen.

That creates the potential for actual identity theft, and a host of unwanted problems. Other PII which must be kept secured includes full name and home address, date of birth, employer name and address, and in the healthcare payer industry, member identification numbers.

Those in the healthcare industry must understand that insurance is actually one of the top three ways in which identities are stolen. An illicit online black market exists for this data, with stolen PII such as Medicare ID numbers being valued at as much as $4,700, according to a February report by NPR. Enhanced encryption, security, and technology are all crucial to provide adequate protection.

PII is legally protected under anti-identity theft statues and HIPAA/HITECH. However, more specific and powerful legislation is also on the way, including The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, or PDNPA.

Major companies undergoing cyber attacks are never a good thing, especially for the individuals who have their data put in jeopardy. However, if those in more susceptible industries, such as prominent national healthcare payers, put the right security policies and protocols into place before it's too late, then the increased awareness will in the long run prove worthwhile.

Ameridial works with large healthcare payers and providers across the country, and is invested into their ongoing success. Speak with a company representative by calling 800.445.7128, or visit to learn more about their services and solutions.

1., The New York Times, Dec. 30, 2014.

2. ABC News, Feb. 5, 2015.

3 “The Black Market for Stolen Health Care Data”, NPR, Feb. 13, 2015.


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