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Eastern European Hackers Blamed For Utah Medicaid Data Breach

Hackers are thought to have taken 24,000 sensitive files from the Utah Health Department

Officials in Utah have announced that hackers have exposed 24,000 Medicaid files, containing social security numbers and other personal data, in a breach of the state’s health department.

An investigation revealed that data began being transferred from the department’s servers late on Sunday, though the initial breach took place on Friday.

Clients in fraud risk

Medicaid is a US federal program which assists the elderly, the disabled and families with low incomes to pay for medical care. The details included in the compromised files help the state decide how much support can be afforded to clients based on income among other factors.

“At this point, efforts are focused on determining the number and identity of individual clients who may have had their information compromised during the breach,” Utah’s health and technology services departments said in a joint statement.

Though the data breach only affected just under a tenth of the 260,000 Medicare clients in the state, officials stated that the actual number of affected individuals could be higher as each file may contain information on more than one person.

“Obviously we will be most concerned with individuals who had their Social Security numbers compromised,” said Tom Hudachko, a health department spokesman, speaking to Reuters. Officials urged Medicaid clients and providers to carefully watch their personal records and bank transactions in case any of the breach data had been fraudulently used.

Hudachko added that an investigation had narrowed down the search for the culprits to “a couple of countries”. He said that the breach originated somewhere in Eastern Europe based on a suspicious IP address, and that officials were trying to locate the exact source.

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