Hacking at Montana DPHHS Puts Information of 1.3 Million at Risk
Earlier this year, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) was hacked and the social security numbers and personal information of a large number of Montanans was put at risk. Director of Montana DPHHS Richard Opper says that an intense investigation has revealed some good news.
"The good news is that we have absolutely no reason to suspect that anybody's information that was on the server was actually access and certainly not misused," Opper said. "So, that's the good news, but we are reacting with a lot of caution and we will be notifying people who happened to have information on the server."
Opper says that a cyber-insurance plan purchased by the state of Montana last July will help fund insurance and identity protection plans for anyone whose information was put at risk. The number of people who qualify, is staggering.
"We're sending out 1.3 million letters," Opper said. "That number obviously exceeds the number of people that live in the state. Among the other information that was on our server, we have vital statistics stored there, so birth and death records. If you were born here, if your children were born here, if you died here, we have your information and you will get a letter from us."
The costs to mail the letters are paid for through insurance purchased by the State of Montana. The state upgraded its property insurance policy in 2013 to include cyber/data security coverage for incidents such as this one. DPHHS officials expect the majority of costs associated with this incident to be covered by insurance, not DPHHS funds.
It is still unclear who was behind the hacking or whether they saw any information at all.