Utah data breach 10X worse than originally thought

“The victims are likely to be people who have visited a health care provider in the past four months,” the statement said. “Some may be Medicaid or CHIP recipients; others are individuals whose health care providers were unsure as to their status as Medicaid recipients.”

The scope of a data breach involving a Medicaid server at the Utah Department of Health is much worse than originally thought. State officials now say that close to 280,000 Social Security Numbers may have been exposed in the incident instead of 25,000, as originally believed.

Less sensitive personal data such as names, birth dates and addresses of another 500,000 people may have also been compromised in the breach, state officials said today.

Today’s announcement marks the second time in three days that Utah state officials have upped their estimates of a March 30 intrusion into a server containing Medicaid claims data on Utah residents.

According to the Utah Department of Technology Services (DTS) and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), the breach stemmed from a configuration error at the user authentication layer. The error allowed attackers, believed to be operating out of Eastern Europe, to bypass the network, perimeter and application level security controls that were in place to protect the server.

Initially, state officials said the intrusion had allowed improper access to about 24,000 claims records. Each record could include Social Security Numbers, names, birth dates, addresses, tax identification numbers and treatment codes.

On Friday, the two organizations released another statement saying forensics investigations showed the breach to be larger than initially thought. In addition to Medicaid data, the breached information included data about recipients of the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Plans (CHIP). And rather than 24,000 claims, the hackers had actually accessed 24,000 files, each one of which potentially contained personal data on hundreds of individuals.


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