This week, the US state of Montana is notifying more than a million people of a massive data breach that took place nearly a year ago, but was only recently discovered.
Montana officials are warning that the anonymous hackers gained access to a server containing the state's Department of Public Health and Human Services data, potentially exposing the confidential medical and identification information of residents, former residents, and even deceased residents.
Though it is not believed that the breach resulted in any actual data exposure or identity theft, free credit monitoring is being offered—and recommended—to those whose personal information was involved.
According to Richard Opper, department director, there are about 17,000 attempts to hack into Montana's computer system every hour and this breach is the first time cyber criminals successfully hacked a state agency on such a large scale, Reuters reports.
The state of Montana has since implemented substantial security upgrades.