State notifies 1.3M people of DPHHS hack


BUTTE, Mont. - We're following up after hearing from many of you concerned about personal information that may have been released when the state health department's database was hacked. Here's some background. An investigation in may found someone hacked a computer at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Information on that server contained anything from clients' names and addresses to social security numbers. Add to it information about prescriptions, insurance and bank account information. State officials said they don't have any reason to believe the information has been used or even accessed, but earlier this month they started sending letters to those affected. Anaconda resident Jessica Hanson read the letter she got from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. "We apologize for this incident and want to provide you with the information on what happened and are taking the steps to protect you," Hanson read. Hanson said me she got four letters, one for each family member. "Even my three year old son got a letter," she said. In May, the state announced hackers accessed Montana Department of Health and Human Services computers and installed Malware, software used to steal information. We talked to DPHHS Director Richard Opper. He told us he doesn't think any personal information was accessed and his agency is taking steps to make sure this never happens again. "We felt in an over abundance of caution, it was important for us to act as if that had happened," said Opper. DPHHS tightened security, set a 1-800 for people with questions and is offering free credit monitoring and insurance. "I would recommend that people do sign up," said Opper. "I signed up myself." But Hanson is still worried. "If somebody actually got into our information our social security number and can it bankrupt us, could it ruin my children's future? " said Hanson. And Hanson isn't the only one, more than 1 million opened up their mailboxes to find a similar letter. "I'm not sure what information is out there that the hackers could have gotten," said Butte resident Patti Herman. Herman said she expected her letter, but wished it would tell her what information of her's the DPHHS has. "It could be my social security card," said Herman. "It could be my driver's license number, all that information that they could get into virtually anything." And both Herman and Hanson said they plan to take advantage of the credit monitoring and insurance. Hanson said it's part of looking out for her family. "I'm definitely going to sign up for this because any thing that can help my family in the future," said Hanson. DPHHS has up to $2 million of cyber-threat insurance to help cover the costs of sending the letters and any protection needed for those affected. People who's information may have been compromised should receive a letter by July 25th. There's also a help line you can call with questions and concerns. That number is 800-809-2956.

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