The hack of Anthem, which affected 80 million people, is suspected to be the work of Chinese data thefts, according to a report in The Washington Post.
If true, the hack would mark the second major hack the Chinese have perpetrated on an American healthcare organization in the past year. This past summer, hackers from China got into the IT systems of Community Health, a large hospital chain based in Tennessee, and accessed 4.5 million patient records.
The Washington Post cited sources that say investigators believe that the hack on Anthem was the work of the Chinese. The source also indicated that other healthcare companies may have been targeted. Another report, from Bloomberg, says that the hack follows the path of similar incidents with foreigners seeking personally identifiable data from large sets of U.S. commercial and government networks. The Bloomberg report also notes that the malware analyzed by experts indicates that most of the exploitation activities emanated from a Chinese infrastructure.
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.
After the Community hack, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) sent a warning to healthcare organizations to be on the look out for these types of hacks. Anthem says it is currently working with Anthem to discover the source of the hack.