Bako Diagnostics (“BakoDx”) recently confirmed that the company experienced a data breach resulting in the personal and health information of certain consumers being compromised. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, PC are going to begin interviewing victims of the breach to determine what damages they sustained and what legal claims may be available to them. If you recently learned your information was compromised in the recent breach, reaching out to a data breach lawyer is the first step to understanding all of your options.
What We Know So Far About the Bako Diagnostics Data Breach
Bako Diagnostics is a laboratory based out of Alpharetta, Georgia. The company specializes in anatomic pathology, nail DNA testing, ENFD, bacteriology and mycology services with an emphasis on podiatric dermatology. Bako Diagnostics’ services are covered under five national health plans, covering more than 250 million individuals. The company diagnoses more than 250,000 cases per year and works with more than 7,500 physicians across the country.
According to an official filing by the company, on December 28, 2021, Bako Diagnostics discovered potentially unauthorized activity on its computer network. In response, Bako Diagnostics conducted an internal investigation into the incident to determine the scope of any compromised consumer data. While the investigation is still ongoing, the company has learned that between December 21 and 28, 2021, an unauthorized party had access to certain files and folders containing consumer data. The company also notes that the unauthorized party may have removed some of this data.
While the compromised information varies by consumer, it may include affected parties’ names, dates of birth, address, telephone number, email address, Social Security number, driver’s license number, state identification number, health insurance information, medical information and billing and claims information.
Subsequently, around February 28, 2022, Bako Diagnostics began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was contained in the affected files.
More About the Causes and Risks of Data Breaches
Often, data breaches are the result of a hacker gaining unauthorized access to a company’s computer systems with the intention of obtaining sensitive consumer information. While no one can know the reason why a hacker targeted BakoDx, it is common for hackers and other criminals to identify those companies believed to have weak data security systems or vulnerabilities in their networks.
Once a cybercriminal gains access to a computer network, they can then access and remove any data stored on the compromised servers. While in most cases a company experiencing a data breach can identify which files were accessible, there may be no way for the company to tell which files the hacker actually accessed or whether they removed any data.
While the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach does not necessarily mean it will be used for criminal purposes, being the victim of a data breach puts your sensitive data in the hands of an unauthorized person. As a result, you are at an increased risk of identity theft and other frauds, and criminal use of your information is a possibility that should not be ignored.
Given this reality, individuals who receive a Bako Diagnostics data breach notification should take the situation seriously and remain vigilant in checking for any signs of unauthorized activity. Businesses like BakoDx are responsible for protecting the consumer data in their possession. If evidence emerges that BakoDx failed to adequately protect your sensitive information, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a data breach lawsuit.
What Are Consumers’ Remedies in the Wake of the BakoDx Data Breach?
When customers decided to do business with BakoDx, they assumed that the company would take their privacy concerns seriously. And it goes without saying that consumers would think twice before giving a company access to their information if they knew it wasn’t going to be secure. Thus, data breaches such as this one raise questions about the adequacy of a company’s data security system.
When a business, government entity, non-profit organization, school, or any other organization accepts and stores consumer data, it also accepts a legal obligation to ensure this information remains private. The United States data breach laws allow consumers to pursue civil data breach claims against organizations that fail to protect their information.
Of course, given the recency of the Bako Diagnostics data breach, the investigation into the incident is still in its early stages. And, as of right now, there is not yet any evidence suggesting BakoDx is legally responsible for the breach. However, that could change as additional information about the breach and its causes is revealed.
If you have questions about your ability to bring a data breach class action lawsuit against Bako Diagnostics, reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.
What Should You Do if You Receive a Bako Diagnostics Data Breach Notification?
If Bako Diagnostics sends you a data breach notification letter, you are among those whose information was compromised in the recent breach. While this isn’t a time to panic, the situation warrants your attention. Below are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft and other fraudulent activity:
Identify What Information Was Compromised: The first thing to do after learning of a data breach is to carefully review the data breach letter sent. The letter will tell you what information of yours was accessible to the unauthorized party. Be sure to make a copy of the letter and keep it for your records. If you have trouble understanding the letter or what steps you can take to protect yourself, a data breach lawyer can help.
Limit Future Access to Your Accounts: Once you determine what information of yours was affected by the breach, the safest play is to assume that the hacker orchestrating the attack stole your data. While this may not be the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. To prevent future access to your accounts, you should change all passwords and security questions for any online account. This includes online banking accounts, credit card accounts, online shopping accounts, and any other account containing your personal information. You should also consider changing your social media account passwords and setting up multi-factor authentication where it is available.
Protect Your Credit and Your Financial Accounts: After a data breach, companies often provide affected parties with free credit monitoring services. Signing up for the free credit monitoring offers some significant protections and doesn’t impact any of your rights to pursue a data breach lawsuit against the company if it turns out they were legally responsible for the breach. You should contact a credit bureau to request a copy of your credit report—even if you do not notice any signs of fraud or unauthorized activity. Adding a fraud alert to your account will provide you with additional protection.
Consider Implementing a Credit Freeze: A credit freeze prevents anyone from accessing your credit report. Credit freezes are free and stay in effect until you remove them. Once a credit freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze if you need to apply for any type of credit. While placing a credit freeze on your accounts may seem like overkill, given the risks involved, it’s justified. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), placing a credit freeze on your account is the “single most effective way to prevent a new credit/financial account from being opened.” However, just 3% of data breach victims place a freeze on their accounts.
Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts: Protecting yourself in the wake of a data breach requires an ongoing effort on your part. You should regularly check your credit report and all financial account statements, looking for any signs of unauthorized activity or fraud. You should also call your banks and credit card companies to report the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach.
Below is a copy of the initial data breach letter issued by Bako Diagnostics:
Bako Diagnostics (“BakoDx”) is committed to protecting the privacy and security of personal information that we receive and maintain. We are writing to inform you of a data security incident that may have affected your personal information. BakoDx provides laboratory services focused on skin, tissue and bone to healthcare providers from which you may have received services. This letter provides information about the incident and resources available to you.
On December 28, 2021, we discovered potential unauthorized activity in our computer network. Upon discovery of this activity, BakoDx immediately took steps to prevent any further unauthorized activity and engaged a national forensic firm to investigate the incident and assist with remediation efforts. Although our investigation is ongoing, we have determined that an unauthorized third party was able to access certain systems that contained personal information and remove some data between December 21 and 28, 2021. As a result of our review, we believe that your information may have leg involved.
What information may have been involved?
Not all data elements may have been involved for all individuals. Depending upon the individual, personal information may have included one or more of the following elements: (1) information to identify and contact you, such as full name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and email address; (2) Social Security number, driver’s license number, and/or state ID number; (3) health insurance information, such as name of insurer, plan and/or group number, and member number; (4) medical information, such as medical record number, dates of service, provider and facility names, and specimen or test information; and (5) billing and claims information, including financial account information.
What we are doing.
BakoDx takes the security of personal information very seriously. As soon as we discovered the incident, we promptly launched a forensic investigation, contacted law enforcement, and took steps to remediate the incident and prevent further unauthorized activity. In response to this incident, we have also enhanced our security and monitoring capabilities as well as hardened our systems as appropriate to minimize the risk of any similar incident in the future.
We have also arranged to offer you credit monitoring services for a period of 24 months, at no cost to you, through Kroll. Kroll is a global leader in risk mitigation and response. You have until <> to activate these services. Instructions on how to activate these services are included in the attached Reference Guide.
What you can do.
In addition to activating the complimentary credit monitoring services, the enclosed Reference Guide includes information on general steps you can take to monitor and protect your personal information. Please review the enclosed Reference Guide. We also encourage you to carefully review credit reports and statements sent from healthcare providers and financial institutions as well as your insurance company to ensure that all of your account activity is valid. Any questionable charges should be promptly reported to the company with which you maintain the account.
For more information
If you have any questions about this matter or would like additional information (including which types of your data may have been involved), please visit AddlNoticeInfo.kroll.com or call toll-free 1-855-568-2161. This call center is open from 9 am – 6:30 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except major US holidays. We regret that this incident occurred and apologize for any inconvenience this incident may have caused you.