Hacker Attack Exposes 25,000 Social Security Numbers

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A digital attack against a Utah medical clinic last week has exposed the personal information of thousands of people. While the initial damage report suggested that the medical records of nearly 200,000 people had been stolen, the problem is now being seen as much worse.

The victims are users of Medicaid and Children’s Health, and in addition to medical information being stolen, over 25,000 Social Security numbers have also been stolen by the hackers. The government medical office stored patient data in files, with each file containing hundreds of records. Amazingly, the hackers made off with a massive 24,000 files.

Accessing the system was relatively easy for the hackers. While the medical office files were protected behind several layers of security, a technician can use just a single password to access the system. Hackers focused their attack on this password and eventually cracked the code.

One of the major problems with this attack is the fact that it affected a large number of children. Because children rarely check their credit report data, it can be difficult to determine whether or not they are victims of identity theft before it’s too late. For that reason, children are far more likely than adults to have their identity stolen online, and many don’t realize that their Social Security numbers have been used nefariously until they check their credit score for the first time in their 20s.

If you live in Utah and suspect your personal data may have been compromised in this attack, then contact http://www.idtheft.utah.gov for more information. That website allows victims of theft to protect themselves from permanent credit damage.

How do I protect my identity online?

If you suspect that your Social Security number may have been stolen in any other attack, then you should contact the three American credit bureaus immediately. By constantly monitoring your credit score and alerting the proper authorities early, you can avoid having a permanent scar on your credit report and protect yourself from losing access to your bank accounts, among other things.

While it’s difficult to protect yourself from hacker attacks that occur to someone else’s computer, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to leave your own computer unprotected. By installing a good antivirus program, you can ensure that hackers have to get through a wall of scanners, filters, and encryption before they can gain access to your system.

For most hackers, computers with good antivirus programs simply aren’t worth the trouble.

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