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Data breach

Data from more than 100,000 Alaskan households exposed in data breach

January 2019 saw a turn of events for the Alaskan government regarding a data breach that affected Alaskan citizens back in June of 2018. Investigations revealed that the breach may have exposed personal information of individuals who interacted with the Division of Public Assistance (DPA). Details such as Medicare billing codes, health bills, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, birth dates, phone numbers, and other confidential data were stored in the infected system.

What really happened

On April 26, 2018, a DPA system was infected with a Zeus/Zbot trojan virus resulting in potential breaches of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act (APIPA). Initial estimates said that 500 individuals were affected by the breach; however, recent investigations reveal that closer to 100,000 households may be impacted.

Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) sent letters to all households that had applied for programs through the DPA, notifying them of the breach. The DHSS enlisted the help of the Office of Information Technology and the FBI to protect its network from such untoward incidents in the future.

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