Utah breach may have compromised over 25,000 Social Security numbers

A configuration error at the authentication level allowed the hacker to circumvent the security system

A data breach on a server of the Utah Department of Technology Services appears to have compromised the Social Security numbers of 25,096 individuals, the department of health of the western U.S. state said.

The breach, believed to be the work of Eastern European hackers, resulted in the removal of personal information of about 181,604 Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan) recipients from the server, Utah Department of Health said Friday. Medicaid is a government health care program in the U.S.

The UDOH said on Wednesday that the impact of the breach on the claims data server was limited to about 24,000 claims. The initial breach was likely to have happened on March 30, it said.

However, as the investigation progressed, DTS found the attackers actually removed 24,000 files, with one file potentially containing claims information on hundreds of individuals.

A configuration error occurred at the authentication level of a multilayered security system on DTS servers, allowing the hacker to circumvent the security system, the Utah state officials said.

The UDOH said it will begin reaching out to clients whose personal information was stolen during the attack, with priority placed on those clients whose Social Security numbers were compromised. The clients will receive a letter instructing them on how to take advantage of free credit monitoring services for one year.

Claims stored on servers like the one that experienced the breach typically could include client names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, physician's names, national provider identifiers, addresses, tax identification numbers, and procedure codes designed for billing purposes, the UDOH said Wednesday.

The affected server has been shut down, and new security measures have since been implemented. DTS had recently moved the claims records to a new server. DTS has processes in place to ensure the state's data is secured, but this particular server was not configured according to normal procedure, UDOH said.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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