Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blumenthal to investigate Health Net data breach

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said today his office is investigating a data breach by health insurer Health Net, which led to the loss of almost 450,000 Connecticut residents' health, personal and financial information.

Blumenthal said Health Net lost the information in May, but never informed consumers, the police or his office about the loss of information until today.

He said the six-month delay in giving notice to consumers and the state could be a violation of the law.

"I am outraged and appalled by Health Net's huge loss of personal, financial and medical information and its failure to swiftly inform authorities and consumers," Blumenthal said. "This information vanished six months ago, but Health Net is only now informing authorities and consumers, an inexcusable and inexplicable delay."

Blumenthal said the information was on a hard drive that disappeared from Health Net's Shelton office. The hard drive included all data on 446,000 Connecticut patients, including health information, as well as financial and personal data such as social security and bank account numbers. The data was compressed, but not encrypted, although a specialized computer program is required to read it.

Alice Ferreira, a spokeswoman for Health Net, said they were initially unable to determine what information was on the lost drive, forcing the company conduct a lengthy investigation, which included a detailed forensic review by computer experts. Hartford Business

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