Talk about an unpleasant conversation -- officials from Montana have begun alerting approximately 1.3 million people that their personal information may have been compromised by a data breach. At present, there's no evidence that any information was stolen, however it has been confirmed that hackers
infiltrated a server used by the state health department.
"There is no information, no indication, that the hackers really accessed any of this information or used it inappropriately," said Richard Opper, director of the State Department of Public Health and Human Services. "We are erring on the side of displaying an overabundance of caution."
Montana is home to around 1 million residents, though the notifications are also being sent out to former residents and the estates of the deceased, hence the 1.3 million figure above. Every person who receives a letter is also eligible for free credit monitoring and identity fraud insurance for a year courtesy of Montana.
State employees began noticing suspicious behavior on the health agency's server back in May. An investigation led to the discover of malware on May 22. In addition to names and addresses, the server held information regarding dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and medical records.
"This type of unauthorized access is not unique to Montana," said Ron Baldwin, Montana's Chief Information Officer. "This is sort of the nature of the world we live in today."