Audit Identifies Security Gaps 3 Weeks Before Historic Breach
Time is of the essence when it comes to plugging gaps in your IT security. Just ask Premera Blue Cross. Last spring, federal auditors combed through Premera’s systems and uncovered a number of shortcomings. Flash forward three weeks: the issues hadn’t been addressed and hackers took advantage, potentially gaining access to the personal, financial and medical information of 11 million customers. That makes it the second largest healthcare data breach in history.
According to reports, hackers got into Premera’s system on May 5, 2014 and they went undetected until Jan. 29 of this year. Three weeks before the attack began, on April 18, Premera received a report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Office of the Inspector General outlining several vulnerabilities, including:
- Patches were being implemented, just not in a timely manner
- Methodology was missing to prevent unsupported or out-of-date software from being utilized
- Server configurations were identified as not being secure by a vulnerability scan
Auditors listed a number of fixes they recommended that Premera make in order to bring its security environment up to the level it needed to be. These recommendations included:
- Reconfiguring its information systems to ensure compliance with its password policy
- Implementing procedures to ensure timely application of appropriate patches, service packs, and hotfixes to production servers
- Remediating the technical weaknesses detailed in the vulnerability scanning audit inquiry issued during the audit
- Routinely auditing all security configuration settings to keep them in compliance with the approved baseline
- Subjecting all apps to routine disaster recovery testing
Premera promised to address the auditors’ concerns by Dec. 31, 2014. Of course, by that point it was already too late. Hackers had already had access to Premera’s systems for about eight months. A multi-state investigation into the breach is currently taking place.
A number of the items on the Feds’ punch list – including implementing updates and fixes on time and auditing security settings – should be standing items on IT’s calendar. However, they can also be among the first things dropped when IT gets overwhelmed with a number of other, more pressing projects.
That’s where Arraya’s Managed Services can help. Arraya’s team can take a wide range of tasks – from routine maintenance to more higher value items – off your IT team’s plate.
A Managed Services partnership with Arraya can result in simpler IT operations, a reduction in business disruptions and the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone has eyes 24/7 on the infrastructure services that support your business. Arraya’s experts are ready to work with your existing staff to chase down alerts, address issues, solve complex problems and manage requests across the full scope of your IT environment.
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