Skip to content Skip to navigation

More Links Found Between China and Anthem Hack

March 2, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

A cybersecurity firm in Virginia has connected the massive hack of health insurer Anthem to Chinese government-sponsored researchers, according to a report from the Washington Post.

The Washington Post reported in early February that the hack of Anthem, which affected 80 million people, was suspected to be the work of Chinese data thefts. According to its most recent report, malicious software used in the Anthem hack conclusively matches malware that was used to target a small U.S. defense contractor and that the FBI has said originated in China, said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect, the cybersecurity firm. The company's report comes as FBI officials say they are close to determining who was behind the Anthem intrusion.

"The malware is so unique—the digital signature is so precise—in these two incidents that we strongly feel the same Chinese actors were involved," Barger said. He added that the links do not reveal who exactly carried out the Anthem hack but point to involvement of Chinese government-sponsored entities.

The other attack Barger was referring to was on the Reston, Va.-based defense contractor VAE. That incident took place last year, though the breach was not successful. Barger said the hackers made a mistake in their attempt on the firm. They used the same computer server to try to break into VAE's networks and to host a hacking competition sponsored jointly by a university research center and a defense contractor—both with ties to Chinese military and intelligence agencies, he said.

To date, China has denied having any involvement in the Anthem attack. In a previous interview, Chris Van Pelt, principal in the healthcare IT practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory LLC, told HCI that healthcare organizations may find themselves in the crosshairs of foreign governments and other crime syndicates looking to gain intellectual property. This is what happened with Community Health and now reportedly Anthem has been victimized too.



EHNAC and HITRUST Combine HIPAA Security Criteria, CSF Framework

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) announced plans to streamline their accreditation and certification programs.

Halamka on MACRA Final Rule: “CMS is Listening and I Thank Them”

Health IT notable expert John Halamka, M.D., CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, recently weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule.

Texas Patient Care Clinic Hit with Ransomware Attack

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.

Healthcare Organizations Again Go to Bat for AHRQ

Healthcare organizations are once again urging U.S. Senate and House leaders to protect the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) from more budget cuts for 2017.

ONC Pilot Projects Focus on Using, Sharing Patient-Generated Health Data

Accenture Federal Services (AFS) has announced two pilot demonstrations with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to determine how patient-generated health data can be used by care teams and researchers.

Is it Unethical to Identify Patients as “Frequent Flyers” in Health IT Systems?

Several researchers from the University of Pennsylvania addressed the ethics of behavioral health IT as it relates to “frequent flyer” icons and the potential for implicit bias in an article published in JAMA.