Identity Blues for 70,000 People in Georgia

If the heat wave hasn’t gotten my fellow Georgian’s singing the blues this summer, the largest health insurance company in the State might just do it.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia are warning 70,000 people that their personal medical information, Social Security numbers and credit card data might have been compromised because of a breach in web site security.

This news coincides with the latest statistics related to security breaches which ranks healthcare as the #2 industry for data breaches.   According to this article, Linda Foley of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), the organization that tracks data breaches, says there have been 325 reported data breaches (through June 25) in 2010 .  The top three industries are:

  • Business – 36 percent;
  • Healthcare – 29.2 percent;
  • Government, military – 16.9 percent.

The article also discusses the breaches this year and the rise in healthcare breach incidences:

Foley attributes the rise in percentages of healthcare incidents to the recent enactment of federally-mandated breach reporting requirements. Increasingly, breaches are caused by hacking, insider theft, and a great deal of accidental loss, she adds — especially in the healthcare industry, where missing laptops have increased in the first half 2010.

Larry Ponemon, president of Ponemon Research Institute, sees a continuing rise in healthcare breaches. Healthcare companies, including insurers, will see more data breaches because of new compliance requirements that demand greater vigilance and penalties for failing to properly notify breach victims, he says. “These new compliance requirements appear to have heightened privacy and data protection practices for healthcare providers and business associates.”

As Internet Security Month comes to a close, it seems fitting to use this time to introduce a new video segment we are doing at IDology called “Identity Street Beat.”  As the name implies, we’ve hit the streets interviewing consumers on identity topics.  This month we focused on Internet Security and consumer concerns.  The episode is less than 3 minutes, so no need to bring popcorn.

Over the coming weeks, look for more episodes of IDentity Street Beat on a variety of identity topics such as privacy, payments, passwords, age verification, shared secrets and more.  And, if you have a question or topic you want to see addressed, let us know through the comments section and we’ll see about getting it covered.

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