Friday, March 13, 2015

Two New Data Breaches Put Consumer Information at Risk

Los Angeles, CA: Two recent data breaches have once again put the spotlight on online security and the vulnerability of consumer information. In at least one case, data breach lawsuits have already been filed, alleging consumer information was not properly protected by the company attacked. Meanwhile, the list of companies who have had their consumer financial or personal information stolen continues to grow.

Two New Data Breaches Put Consumer Information at RiskOne of the companies to face a data breach - and resulting lawsuits - is Anthem Inc. The health insurance company announced in February 2015 that it had been victim of a cyber attack, potentially exposing personal information of up to 80 million people. According to a statement from Anthem, customer names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, street addresses and employment information were accessed by the hackers. When Anthem announced the breach, however, it noted that financial information did not appear to have been accessed.

“On January 29, 2015, Anthem, Inc. (Anthem) discovered that cyber attackers executed a sophisticated attack to gain unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and obtained personal information relating to consumers who were or are currently covered by Anthem or other independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans that work with Anthem,” Anthem announced. The company also noted that it was working with the FBI and taking steps to “close the security vulnerability.” Anthem has offered its policyholders two years of identity protection.

Anthem policyholders have already filed lawsuits concerning the security breach, and motions to consolidate the lawsuits have been filed. So far, between 60 and 70 lawsuits have reportedly been filed in approximately 20 federal districts. The lawsuits allege Anthem did not adequately protect its customers’ and employees’ personal information.

The second chain to have its credit card system hacked is reportedly Mandarin Oriental, a hotel chain that has hotels in 30 cities around the world, including New York, San Francisco and Miami. According to Associated Press (3/5/15), the company announced that its credit card system was hacked but has not announced the extent of the hack or whether its customers’ information was vulnerable in the attack.

Mandarin Oriental and Anthem join a growing list of companies to have had their security breached. That list also includes Home Depot, Target and Neiman Marcus.

The Anthem request for consolidation is In re: Anthem Inc., Customer Data Breach Litigation, case number 2617.

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