Children’s Health Insurer’s Website Left Vulnerable To Cybercriminals For 7 Years

A failure to apply software security patches made this website an easy target for cybercriminals since 2013. 

Applying updates and patches is a simple yet critical part of effective cybersecurity. Overlooking the process, or even delaying it slightly can leave a system vulnerable to threats that had been identified by the developers.

A failure to apply software security patches made this website an easy target for cybercriminals since 2013.

Case in point: Florida Healthy Kids Corp. was recently breached by hackers, due to vulnerabilities left unpatched for seven years. This resulted in the data of thousands of insurance applicants being illegally accessed by external parties.

How Did This Breach Occur?

In assessing the damage of the breach, a third-party cybersecurity team determined that Florida Healthy Kids Corp.’s website had not been updated or patched since December 2013. The hosting company, Jelly Bean Communications Design, had failed to properly maintain the website, which made it an easy target for cybercriminals.

“Florida Healthy Kids learned that its web hosting vendor had failed to apply security patches to its software, thereby exposing the website to vulnerabilities that were ultimately exploited by the hackers,” according to a statement from the organization.

The breach gave hackers access to individuals’ full names, dates of birth, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, Social Security numbers and more. Florida Healthy Kids Corp. has since transitioned to a new hosting company and will bring their website back online once they are sure it is safe to do so.

How Can You Defend Against This Type Of Breach?

Despite how advanced modern software is, it is still designed by humans, and the fact is that humans still make mistakes. That’s why much of the software you rely on to get work done every day could have flaws — or "exploits" — that leave you vulnerable to security breaches.

Many of the most common malware and viruses used by cybercriminals today are based on exploiting those programming flaws; to address this, developers regularly release software patches and updates to fix those flaws and protect the users.

Comprehensive and regular patch management is a crucial part of proper IT security. In order to maintain a secure IT environment, you either have to make sure your staff is staying on top of all incoming updates or better yet, you need to work with a reliable cybersecurity partner like Orbis Solutions to take care of it for you.

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