Authentic8 Blog Category: Identity

How Medical Identity Theft Works, and How it Can Impact You

Image: Patients in Waiting Room with Chart: Indivituals Impacted by Healthcare Data BreachesIDENTITY, SECURITY

The healthcare industry currently tops the target list of cyber criminals, according to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index [PDF]. The Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy & Security of Healthcare Data (Ponemon Institute) reveals that 89 percent of healthcare organizations and 60 percent of their business associates experienced data breaches over the past two years.

Recently, ransomware attacks (incidents where hospital data are encrypted and only released after a ransom is paid) have dominated the headlines. But most data breaches within the healthcare industry involve an even more lucrative target: medical records and related Personal Identifiable Information (PII), like Social Security numbers.

What does this mean for you? Medical identity theft via computer comes at staggering cost to the victims. They have to pay a steep price to get their life back: on average more than $ 13,000, according to one study. To make matters worse, victims can find themselves cut off from their doctors or get misdiagnosed,

Can You Trust Your Tax Preparer?


IRS forms can suck the joy right out of a wonderful April day. Do you prefer online tax filing? Guess what: so do cyber criminals. Also on their target list: CPAs and local tax preparer offices.

The IRS expects damages from tax refund fraud - somebody filing for a refund, using a stolen identity - to rise to $21 billion this year. This increase is in part due to the widespread use of e-filing services by taxpayers.

While such services make filing for a refund easier, some Internet tax filing platforms are also known to fuel tax fraud. Organized scamsters use them to automate their scheme online.

That tax refund you expected? The one that’s long overdue? It may have been paid out already, but to somebody else: to a tax scam artist.

As a victim of tax refund fraud, up to nine months can pass before you finally receive your money. That’s on average how long it takes

Your data has been leaked - now what?


The math isn’t good. Since 2013, more than 1 billion records containing personally identifiable information (PII) have been compromised. From credit card purchases at hardware stores to government background checks, your data is on servers completely outside of your control. And it appears that the owners of those servers haven’t cared about securing your data as much as you have. So your data has been leaked. Your world is changed, and here are 6 steps to take to get back in control of the situation -- a few of them immediately, the rest over time.

Do this TODAY!

Acknowledge that you are a victim. Say it to yourself: “My data has been stolen and will probably be sold to the highest bidder.” That realization should permeate your behavior. Where you used to click links, enter passwords in fields, or throw official-looking mail in the trash, now you can’t. Try to assess everything you receive from the perspective of

Protect Yourself from the Anthem Data Hack



This article isn’t for everyone - only eighty million of you (or 78.8 million to be more precise). That’s the whoppingly huge number of Anthem Health Insurance customers whose personally identifiable information (PII) is now in the hands of internet thieves. If you’re a current or former Anthem subscriber (or a Blue Cross Blue Shield subscriber who received services from Anthem), crooks probably have your full name, birth date, member ID data, street address, phone number, email address, and employment information.

Armed with your PII, these criminals (or the people who buy your PII on the black market) are cooking up ways to steal from you. Here’s a partial list of what they might be considering:

  • Registering for credit cards under your name and going on shopping sprees.
  • Foisting their income taxes on you. If a fraudster gives their employer your social security number, you’re on the hook to the IRS for the crook’s

Trusting third parties can lead to second-rate security


Over the weekend, news broke that hundreds of thousands of individual users of SnapChat (many under the age of 18) fell victim to compromise through a third-party service called SnapSaved, reportedly perpetrated by the same group responsible for leaking the celebrity photos. And Dairy Queen revealed that they were the latest in a growing list of retailers that have had customer credit card information stolen as a result of malware installed by hackers using stolen passwords from third-party contractors. Just yesterday, hackers claimed to have stolen almost 7 million Dropbox credentials by compromising a third-party site.

The common thread: the victims, whether individuals or a large company, trusted third parties and paid a steep price as a result. It’s true that adoption of web apps has lead to an increase in productivity and even, according to this report, security. But reliance on third parties also magnifies the damage that unauthorized access can cause. Businesses of all sizes can protect themselves