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Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is now investigating cases due to a data breach that targeted Banner Health, a nonprofit hospital system that operates hospitals in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Wyoming and Nebraska.
The data breach began in late June 2016, but was not made public until early August. It exposed sensitive personal and financial information maintained on 3.7 million individuals, according to news reports.
All 29 of the hospitals operated by Banner Health were affected by the data breach, reports indicated.
“Banner Health’s negligence has resulted in a severe breach of privacy for over three million people across four states,” said Robin Greenwald head of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg. “The careless handling of credit and personal health information is inexcusable and those responsible for this breakdown in privacy must be held accountable.”
The Banner Health data breach creates a risk that the hacked information will be used to commit identity theft. Having your identity stolen may cause you and other Banner Health patients and customers financial harm.
The hacked information might be used to apply for and receive credit in your name, or in your child’s name. The thieves could open credit card accounts, sign up for cell phones, or use your medical insurance.
These unauthorized uses of private information may give you and other victims of the data breach grounds for a lawsuit against Banner Health.
“Though the company is offering to pay for one year of identity theft monitoring services to those affected, we know from other cyberattacks that the victim’s information can be used long after the attack. Victims need further assurances that their information will be protected,” said Greenwald.
“The compromise of social security numbers is especially troubling because fraudsters can use stolen social security numbers to commit identity theft in a large number of different forms,” said James Bilsborrow, an attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg who specializes in data security cases at the firm.
Details of Banner Health Data Breach
News reports about the Banner Health data breach indicate that the hospital system believes the hack began on or around June 23, 2016. The data breach was not detected by Banner Health until approximately two weeks later, according to reports.
It was almost another month before victims of the data breach began learning from Banner Health that their confidential information had been compromised, according to reports.
In publicly discussing the data breach, Banner Health said the hackers targeted patient records and credit card information.
Banner Health said the data breach started with a cyberattack on credit card terminals located in the hospital cafeterias, reports indicated.
Those terminals were tied into Banner Health’s computer network. After penetrating the cash registers, the hackers were then able to break into the computer network and access the confidential records, according to reports.
Among the specific types of information believed stolen in the data breach were credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers and health insurance details.
Included in the stolen information were records pertaining to doctors and other healthcare providers, reports indicated.
W&L Handles Many Stolen Identity Cases
The Banner Health data breach is not the first case of this kind that W&L has handled. Our firm has represented victimized patients and customers in a number of litigations in which sensitive information was stolen.
In one of these currently ongoing litigations, W&L is serving as the co-lead law firm. That case is a class action lawsuit brought against health insurer Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
W&L was appointed to the role of co-lead law firm by the judge presiding over that class action. The judge is the Hon. Elizabeth A. Wolford of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.
Judge Wolford said she chose W&L because the firm demonstrated to her that it was knowledgeable, committed and hard-working.
Judge Wolford also appointed W&L’s Robin L. Greenwald to serve as interim co-lead counsel. Ms. Greenwald heads the W&L Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection litigation unit.