Montana Health Department hacked

July 8th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is notifying public program clients and employees about data breach due to recent incident of server hacking. Montana hired an investigator and confirmed that their server was inappropriately accessed. The server had sensitive information which included state public assistance data such as food stamps, welfare payments, Medicaid, home heating aid and child-care assistance, birth records and some state employee information. It was also found out that there may have been clients’ names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and health records.

As protected health information (PHI) was involved in this breach, Montana may initiate conversation with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Montana’s state CIO, Ron Baldwin, told the Gazette that this was a first-time breach and that an outsider found a software vulnerability prior to the department being able to patch it, leading to the server hack. “This is not unique to Montana, it’s not unique to state government,” he said. “All states, all major businesses are experiencing these (attempts) every day, every month, every year … and they come from all over the world.”

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services director Richard Opper suggested that the hackers may have been involved with trading Bitcoins in some form. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are taking the necessary steps to reach out to those whose information may have been stored in the server,” he said to the Gazette. “DPHHS is committed to answering questions clients and employees may have, and to help them take advantage of services we are offering.”

 

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