The computer network of Nationwide Insurance was hacked late last year putting an estimated 1.1 million customers are risk.
Nationwide informed customers of the breach last year, and informed them that information accessed by the hackers included names, date of birth, Social Security numbers and driver's license information. The information was of both customers, and those who asked for an insurance quote.
The breach also affects customers of Nationwide's affiliates Allied Insurance.
Nationwide is urging customers to take advantage of the some of the precautions they are offering including credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Nationwide is also offering up to $1 million in identify theft coverage.
The attacks took place on Oct. 3, 2012, and nationwide took immediate action to contain the intrusion and an internal investigation determined the hacker had in fact stolen personal information. Law enforcement officials are also investigating the breach.
The insurer also retained a third-party expert to analyze the impacted data and work with Nationwide to identify specifically whose personal information was compromised as quickly as possible.
Although the number one culprit is the hacker, businesses and organizations are responsible for the security of the confidential information of their clients. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission sued Wyndham Worldwide Hotels for lax security, which allowed hackers to access the credit card and personal information of its over 600,000 clients. Similar lawsuits have also been filed against BJ's Wholesale Club, Microsoft and LinkedIn, among others. Most resulted in agreements to institute stricter security measures.
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Source: PropertyCasualty360, "Nationwide Data Breach Could Affect 1.1 Million Customers," Dec. 6, 2012.