News stories about large-scale hacking operations are becoming so numerous that the term "data breach" is now a regular part of the American lexicon. In the past couple years, retailers like Target and Home Depot have allowed hackers to obtain credit card numbers and other sensitive data from millions of customers.
For a variety of reasons, many retailers and other large businesses seem to regard data breaches as simply the "cost of doing business." But after a recent data breach involving one of the nation's largest insurance companies, consumers are demanding reform and compensation.
Earlier this month, insurance giant Anthem disclosed that it had been the victim of a data breach that could affect as many as 80 million Americans. And unlike credit card numbers, which can fairly easily be cancelled and replaced, hackers made off with sensitive information that included customer Social Security numbers.
According to the L.A. Times, Anthem has already been criticized for failing to take basic security measures leading up to the breach, including encrypting customer information.
This week, a class-action lawsuit was filed in California against the company, alleging invasion of privacy, negligence and breach of contract. Plaintiffs are especially angry about the data breach because the FBI issued a warning more than a year ago about vulnerabilities to a cyber attack.
One of the plaintiffs' attorneys in the suit noted that "the lawsuit is to send a message to companies that this is a very serious issue and they need to take every step possible to protect this highly critical information."
Source: ABC 10 News, "Class action lawsuit filed in San Diego against Anthem," Melissa Mecija, Feb. 10, 2015