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Unprecedented breach exposes data of 33 million French citizens

Unprecedented breach exposes data of 33 million French citizens

In a major cybersecurity incident, the personal information of 33 million French citizens has been compromised, making it the largest data breach in the country's history. 


What happened

The breach occurred in January at two payment processors, Viamedis and Almerys, which French health insurers widely use. The attackers successfully compromised the personal information of 33 million French citizens - half the country's population. Viamedis' general director revealed that the breach resulted from a successful phishing attack on an employee. At the same time, the assailants targeted a portal used by health professionals to breach Almerys. 

The combined breach exposed a range of personally identifiable information (PII), including names, dates of birth, national identification numbers, and names of health insurers. However, banking information, medical data, addresses, and contact details were not accessed.


What was said

In response to the breach, the French data protection agency CNIL has initiated an investigation into the incident at Viamedis and Almerys. The agencies responsible for regulating data protection in France will work to determine the scope of the breach, assess the companies' security measures, and identify any potential regulatory violations. The investigation aims to hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure that appropriate actions are taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.


Why it matters

The breach at Viamedis and Almerys has raised concerns about the security of personal information and the potential for identity theft or fraud. The compromised data can be used by malicious actors for various illegal activities. While sensitive medical and financial information was not accessed, the breach still poses a risk to affected individuals. CNIL has urged policyholders to be vigilant and watch out for potential follow-on attacks.


The big picture

As healthcare records become more digitized and medical services are increasingly offered online, it is essential for healthcare providers to prioritize cybersecurity measures. By taking proactive steps to address cybersecurity risks, healthcare organizations can safeguard patient privacy and maintain their patients' trust.

See also: HIPAA Compliant Email: The Definitive Guide


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