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Published: 2015-02-05 13:37:38

In what is being called one of the largest data breaches in history, health insurance company Anthem announced today that it had suffered a cyber attack that compromised the personal information of approximately 80 million of its customers. The breach is believed to have occurred sometime in early December 2014 and was discovered by Anthem’s IT department in late January.

Anthem, which is the second-largest health insurer in the United States, said that the stolen data included customers’ names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, and employment information. The company also warned that credit card information and medical information had not been compromised, as those were stored separately and were not accessed in the attack.

In a statement released today, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said, “We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause. We are working around the clock to determine how many people have been impacted and will notify all Anthem members who are impacted through a letter mailed to their homes.”

The breach is believed to have been the work of a group of Chinese hackers, who have been linked to a number of high-profile cyber attacks against US companies in recent years. While the motive behind the attack remains unclear, cybersecurity experts warn that state-sponsored cybercrime is becoming an increasingly serious threat.

Anthem has said that it has hired cybersecurity firm Mandiant to investigate the breach and has also offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all affected customers. The company has also set up a dedicated website, www.anthemfacts.com, where customers can find information about the breach and receive updates on the company’s response.

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