Legal

Chinese National Charged In Anthem Data Breach

California To Strengthen Data Breach Laws

U.S. prosecutors have charged a Chinese national for his alleged involvement in the 2015 data breach at health insurance company Anthem, which led to the theft of 78.8 million records.

Fujie Wang, 32, and other unnamed members of a China-based hacking group have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in relation to computers and identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and two substantive counts of intentional damage to a protected computer for breaching the computer systems of Indianapolis-based Anthem and three other unnamed U.S. businesses.

The indictment alleges that beginning in February 2014, the defendants used sophisticated techniques to hack into the companies’ computer networks without authorization and installed malware and tools to steal data that included personally identifiable information (PII) and confidential business information, including names, health identification numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, employment information and income data.

“The allegations in the indictment unsealed today outline the activities of a brazen China-based computer hacking group that committed one of the worst data breaches in history,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a press release. “These defendants allegedly attacked U.S. businesses operating in four distinct industry sectors, and violated the privacy of over 78 million people by stealing their PII. The Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting PII, and will aggressively prosecute perpetrators of hacking schemes like this, wherever they occur.”

“The cyber attack of Anthem not only caused harm to Anthem, but also impacted tens of millions of Americans,” added U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. “This wanton violation of privacy will not stand, and we are committed to bringing those responsible to justice. I would also like to thank Anthem for its timely and substantial cooperation with our investigation.”

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