On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) announced that, “the company has been the target of a sophisticated cyberattack,” and that it, ”was discovered as a part of the company’s ongoing Information Technology (IT) security efforts in the wake of recent cyberattacks on health insurers.”
The most notable attack on health insurers was reported in February of this year when Anthem Inc., the nation’s second largest health insurer, revealed that they had suffered a data breach of historic proportions, having data on almost 80 million customers and employees exposed.
Joe Caruso, founder and CEO/CTO of Global Digital Forensics (GDF), a premier national provider of cyber security solutions headquartered in New York City, sees stories like this unfold in the real world every day, and hopes more businesses take CareFirst’s example to heart. “The Anthem hack was a huge story in the healthcare and health insurance industries, and if there is one good thing that can come from that kind of headline making cyber attack, it’s that sometimes it can spark the right action by the right people, in this case CareFirst, who decided to beef up their cyber security posture as a result,” he says. “That led to professional testing, and lo and behold, it led to uncovering an attack that occurred as early as June of last year and flew under the radar ever since. It also shows there is absolutely no substitute for having professional vulnerability assessments, deep scanning and penetration testing done regularly, even if there wasn’t an “event” detected. In today’s digital world, every business has to understand this, because we all know it’s not just the healthcare industry that is being targeted by hackers, everyone is at risk, and we also know that failure on the cyber front can lead to disastrous consequences, no matter how large or small or tech savvy an organization may be.”
But there are steps cyber security professionals like Global Digital Forensics can help businesses take to fortify their delicate cyber-ecosystems, without crushing budgets. Some of these include:
1) Identifying threat vectors and cyber policy shortcomings - Because every organization is unique, a one size fits all approach is very rarely successful. In one situation laptops and insiders may be the highest threat vector, in another it may be outsiders or removable media. GDF will use a proven variety of methods to expose the most likely threat vectors and weaknesses in internal cyber policies. With this valuable information, detailed reports with remediation recommendations will be generated.
2) Data Flow Mapping – Many organizations have certain system areas containing confidential ESI locked down like Ft. Knox, but there are many paths and forms data can take in its lifespan. Cyber security can inherently not exist if an organization doesn’t know where every bit of data has traveled and who has accessed it, from conception to disposal. GDF’s detailed Data Flow Mapping will uncover the vulnerable points and offer recommendations to fortify those vulnerabilities.
3) Penetration Testing – Compared to IT security personnel, hackers have it easy. While those tasked with protecting data have to plug a million holes, a hacker only needs to find one. A penetration test conducted by GDF serves to expose the weaknesses a real-world hacker may find by attempting to hack through an organization’s security using the same exploits, techniques and strategies an outside hacker would use to gain unauthorized access to data. Detailed reports and remediation recommendations will then be generated so the vulnerabilities can be corrected.
4) Emergency Intrusion Incident Response Teams - In the ever evolving cyber landscape, there is unfortunately no such thing as perfect security, so even the most advanced cyber security measures may eventually be compromised. GDF has a network of emergency responders strategically located, both nationally and globally, to respond to an intrusion in a matter of hours. By setting up a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with GDF in advance, the response procedures and policy will already be laid out, and the time-critical task of mitigating damage and loss due to a data breach will be substantially improved. Having GDF signed on as emergency incident responders also helps satisfy certain regulatory compliance issues.
It is proven time again that how an organization responds to a data breach will greatly affect client trust and the public perception of an organization’s integrity, so don’t wait until it’s too late; the right time to take control of data security is right now.
*Global Digital Forensics is a recognized industry leader in the fields of computer forensics, cyber security and emergency incident response, with years of experience assisting clients in the government, banking, healthcare, education and corporate arenas. For a free consultation with a Global Digital Forensics specialist, call 1-800-868-8189 about tailoring a cost-effective plan which will meet your unique needs, without wasting resources on solutions you simply don’t need. Emergency responders are also standing by 24/7 to handle intrusion and data breach emergencies whenever and wherever they arise. Time is critical if a cyber incident has occurred, so don’t hesitate to get help. For more information, visit our cyber security page.