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Premera Blue Cross Reports Data Breach of 11 Million Accounts

Los Angeles, CA: As many as 11 million people may have suffered exposure of the medical and financial information as a result of a massive data breach on health insurer Premera Blue Cross. The cyber attack is alleged to have begun in May 2014, with hackers accessing claims data including clinical information, as well as bank account and social security numbers, birth dates and other sensitive information.

The Premera data breach is reportedly the largest to date that involves patients' medical information. Roughly 6 million accounts that have been hacked belong to residents of Washington state, and include employees at Microsoft Corp, Amazon and Starbucks, Premera said.

The cyber attack involves Premera Blue Cross, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, and affiliated brands Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions. The data breach was discovered on January 29, 2015, which is also when that health insurer Anthem reported it had suffered a cyber attack involving records of some 79 million members in Blue Cross Blue Shield plans nationwide.

Eric Earling, a spokesperson for Premera, said the two attacks were unrelated and that his company independently identified its breach. Premera has said that so far it has not identified any evidence to show that member data was "used inappropriately." The insurer also said it was coordinating with the FBI on an investigation into the cyberattack on its IT systems and had worked with a cybersecurity firm to remove an infection the breach created.

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