Health insurance companies still being targeted by Chinese hackers

A U.S. investigation showed Chinese hackers recently targeted American health insurance companies, the Financial Times reported, adding that insurance giant Anthem reported personal details on almost 80 million people had been "compromised."

The FT reported that the Anthem ($ANTM) hack was disclosed in February and was among several other hospitals and insurance companies that were penetrated around the same time. A hack into insurer Premera exposed the confidential details on about 11 million people, the FT reported.

The report said the hackers may have been motivated by hackers who want to help the country "understand how other nations deal with medical care" as China's population rapidly ages.

Chinese citizens, who have been promised universal healthcare by 2020, are still unhappy overall with the nation's healthcare systems and attacks on doctors and hospital staff are common. The country is in the process of reforming its healthcare system and the government recently promised to spend $1.54 billion next year to aid the reform of the nation's public hospitals.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

The United States and China in September agreed during a state visit by China's President Xi Jinping to cease government-sponsored hacks on companies for non-national security issues, but U.S. officials say China routinely flouts any such agreements.

The FT said in its report that healthcare data is particularly attractive as a target because it can be sold to the online black market and also reported that 81% of healthcare executives say their companies have been hacked within the last two years. The FT report cited a study by KPMG.

Anthem was said to be a high-priority target because it insures many U.S. government employees.

- here's the story from the FT