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Cybercriminals want your private data … as much as they can get. Why? Because they can sell it to online advertisers (like Google, Facebook & Microsoft), as well as other hackers for all kinds of nefarious uses.
What we’re talking about is an extensive data breach that was recently discovered. A database belonging to the telemarketing company, HealthNow Networks, was found after being stolen and uploaded to the internet. The company provides equipment and medical supplies to patients with diabetes.
The personal information of nearly 1 million patients was left exposed online. Unprotected data included:
- Patient names
- Social Security numbers
- Dates of birth
- Physical addresses
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Health insurance information
- Health condition information including medications and required equipment
The exposed database was used by HealthNow to market products to diabetic patients. Pressure has been placed on the company recently to close its operations after several other security-related incidents occurred.
Patients impacted by the breach had health insurance through Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealthcare.
The type of information exposed in this breach would be a goldmine to scammers. On top of the potential for identity theft, scammers could create phishing attacks based on patients’ needs, tricking them into clicking on maliciously targeted health-care related messages that could lead to additional theft of information.
Any time there is a major breach like this, you need to be extra cautious with your online security. Here are some security suggestions:
What you need to do after a data breach
- Investigate your email address – Have I Been Pwned is an easy-to-use site with a database of information that hackers and malicious programs have released publicly. It monitors hacker sites and collects new data every five to 10 minutes about the latest hacks and exposures.
- Beware of phishing scams – Scammers will try and piggyback on huge breaches like this. They will create phishing emails, pretending to be the affected company, hoping to get victims to click on malicious links that could lead to more problems
- Manage passwords – Whenever you hear news of a data breach, it’s a good idea to change your account passwords. Many people use the same username and password on multiple sites. This is a terrible practice and you should never do it. If you’re using the same credentials on multiple sites, change them to make them unique. If you have too many accounts to remember, you could always use a password manager.
- Keep an eye on your bank accounts – You should be frequently checking your bank statements, looking for suspicious activity. If you see anything that seems strange, report it immediately.
- Have strong security software – Protecting your gadgets with strong security software is important. It’s the best defense against digital threats.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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