Horizon execs defend actions after laptop theft

State lawmakers grilled executives from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey during a Senate hearing for failing to protect the private information of 840,000 members, which was stored on two laptops stolen in November, reported The Star-Ledger. The lawmakers showed particular interest in why Horizon didn't encrypt the data. "Most of the laptops are encrypted," Horizon Director of Information Security Greg Barnes told the panel, but he added that "it's very difficult to deal in absolutes." Meanwhile, Horizon lobbyist John Leyman said the insurer has "enhanced encryption and security systems," and has since retrained staff on how to protect members' sensitive information. When questioned about why it took Horizon officials one month to alert their members about the laptop theft, Leyman said the insurer hired outside forensic experts "to fully identify the potential number of people affected so we would share the information with the right universe of people," and that process took about a month, The Star-Ledger noted. The Horizon execs added that they've received no reports of anyone illegally using the stolen information; if that happens, the insurer will pay for credit checks and identify theft services. Article

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