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Stolen laptop contains personal info of 20,000 N.C. doctors

Posted October 27, 2009

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A laptop of a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association employee stolen earlier this month from a parked car in Chicago contained the names, addresses and other personal information of more than 20,000 North Carolina doctors, a company spokesman says.

Lew Borman, a spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, said Tuesday that the worker of the organization's Chicago office, downloaded the information to a personal computer, which was against company policy.

The employee has since been terminated.

The laptop contained the personal information, including some Social Security numbers of every doctor nationwide who accepts the health insurance plan – between 800,000 and 850,000.

There was no patient information on the computer, Borman said.

Blue Cross has sent letters to those affected by the breach and has offered them a year of free credit monitoring.

Borman said the information can't be used to file fraudulent claims because other identifying information not on the computer is needed to do so.

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  • james27613 Oct 27, 2009

    The people that d/l data they never should have been able to d/l are the problem, many are outside 'consultants' who have no clue what they are doing to the company and the information that they have a responsibility to protect.

    It's amazing that people who work with computers are so lax about security.

  • jet2rdu Oct 27, 2009

    A locked trunk does not always protect laptops from being stolen. It protects them from being easily seen. Rental cars, especially outside restaurants, and their trunks are sought after targets for laptop and luggage thieves.
    The best protection is still a Power On password, A Hard Disk Password and Data Encryption for sensitive data.

    However, the data should not have been available for download to this individual if it was so private to BCBS.

  • Tax Man Oct 27, 2009

    Obama's Health Czar got this so he can pressure BC/BS into submission on the "Public Option"! I believe it was Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi who actually took the computer - understand the fired employee is now in charge of the Raleigh ACORN office.

  • whocares Oct 27, 2009

    If this person was going to leave the computer in his/her car why not put it in the trunk so that anyone would not be able to see it. Also why was the employee downloading the information on a personal computer in the first place? Whoever stole the computer can find out the information they need to file a claim. All they have to do is be able to read.

  • Just the facts mam Oct 27, 2009

    Gotta love Chicago

  • happymom Oct 27, 2009

    It's amazing that people who work with computers are so lax about security. Aside from viruses, there's always the plain, old-fashioned risk of thievery. This could happen, even with paper records.

    I think the question we should be asking is: what can companies do to prevent employees from downloading data? This seems to happen more and more. Surely there are electronic security measures companies could take to prevent it.

  • Sarge Oct 27, 2009

    Why wasn't this info encrypted? or was it?

  • krazykristie06 Oct 27, 2009

    This was probablly some kid who stole the computer! Not a very bright idea to make this story public so the thief can know about it. What if he didn't know and now he does! Good Job!

  • tran Oct 27, 2009

    At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, still think it's a good idea to have all this data on computers? Just a matter of securing it, eh? I read about breaches regularly. Yeah, yeah. They fired the careless employee. Don't worry there's plenty more careless employees where that one came from.

    An astute observer once said that the fundamental problem of fortification has no solution. Neither does the fundamental problem of data security.