PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The cyber security breach at Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield with its 80 million customers has brought increased scrutiny to security issues in the health care industry.
“The rise of medical identity theft — it’s one of the fastest growing crimes in America,” says cyber security consultant Greg Porter at CMU’s Software Engineering Institute.
Porter says nobody is immune.
“Hospitals and health care insurance companies make logical targets for not only external adversaries if you will, but also to insiders that are engaging in the theft of health care information,” Porter told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
To cyber security experts at Highmark, the Anthem breach was not so much a wake-up call as a reaffirmation that they are on the right track.
Highmark’s chief information security officer Omar Khawaja has a staff of several dozen to keep out the cyber criminals.
Delano: “Is Highmark more secure than Anthem?”
Khawaja: “That’s a really tough question to ask. I will say that health care organizations take this very, very seriously.”
“We take a lot of steps to make sure we have the right processes in place, the right people with the right skills in place, and we are continuously looking at better technologies to bring into place to identify, to detect, and to respond to any attempts at breaching our information,” says Khawaja.
Highmark’s chief security officer says the criminals try to jump a step ahead of the good guys.
“It becomes increasingly difficult to say that we are going to be 100 percent secure, but we are constantly looking at how we can make our information and environment more and more secure than it’s been the past to keep up with the sophistication of the attackers.”
So has the Anthem breach affected any Highmark customers?
“We don’t know,” says Lisa Martinelli, Highmark’s chief privacy officer.
“It’s too soon to know. The volume of data is quite large, so we’ve not been advised of any of our customers. But we are on alert and as soon as we know something that is meaningful and material to our customers, they will be put on notice of it.”