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April 9th, 2008

WellPoint Customers Private Information Exposed

Personal information that may have included Social Security numbers and pharmacy or medical data for about 128,000 WellPoint Inc. customers in several states was exposed online over the past year. The latest security lapse stems from two servers maintained by an outside vendor that remains unidentified for now. The vendor specializes in data management.

WellPoint, which has had other data security issues in the past, recently learned about the problem, fixed it and is notifying customers. WellPoint had learned early last year that a server was improperly secured, and that information on about 1,350 customers may have been exposed online and was vulnerable to Internet search engines. The insurer fixed that breach quickly. The company recently learned that a second server had problems which exposed information for more than 128,000 customers to Internet access for about a year. That data had some code protection and couldn’t be found by people using search engines.

The nation’s largest health insurer by membership is offering free credit-monitoring services for those customers, but has received no reports of identity theft or credit fraud.

That problem has been corrected and the company is working with experts to improve its security. It is still using the same vendor.

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