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United they fall

United they fall

Oh man, I really don’t like doing the same topic two weeks in a row, but we have to talk about ransomware again.

It should be about the ADT webcast, but we’ll save that one for next week, as a treat. Instead, today we’re going to take our medicine and I get to say I told you so while discussing the ransomware attack on UnitedHealthcare by BlackCat. You’ll remember BlackCat (ALPHV) because we’ve covered it before, but also because in this very blog spot last week I told you they both still existed and were a huge threat, and guess what, I nailed it. I promise I am trying my very best to not be smug about an otherwise terrible situation.

A terrible situation for the more than 27.2 million people served by United Healthcare that are affected by this situation. I can say I feel their pain because in my previous employment, I became a client of UnitedHealthcare for roughly three months. I’ll spare you the finer details of the service I received in that time but let’s just say there are gym memberships easier to close.

There is a silver lining in this whole security debacle, however. When I saw that the U.S. was launching an investigation into UnitedHealth Group I said, “Yeah sure, that makes sense.” When I read later that they were launching an antitrust investigation into UnitedHealth Group I actually bit back a laugh because man, karma, am I right?

Among its many target priorities in an election year the Biden administration has signaled that tackling healthcare costs is one of its goals, and now United is in its crosshairs. Reuters is reporting that the FTC is directly investigating the pharmacy benefit manager middlemen involved, in pricing I assume, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking at the company’s Medicare billing practices.

Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. Now this is a lot of politics and a lot of healthcare-related news piggybacking on a security incident, but I have to wonder, would things look this dire for UnitedHealthcare if they had minded their security better?  

That’s my question to you this week, dear readers. Is your cybersecurity at the level it needs to be? Because there are hackers trying right now to answer that question for you.


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