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Everyone in Montana was possibly hacked

I always remind you to make strong passwords, install security software and update your browser to protect the personal information you store on your computer and the Internet. But, sometimes that isn't enough.

It seems like every day we get a reminder that our personal information isn't completely safe, no matter how secure the server. Montana officials recently had to send that reminder to 1.3 million people after hackers placed a virus on a health department server.

That's a staggering amount of victims considering the entire population of Montana is only about 1 million people!

Malware was discovered on the health agency's server May 22 after information technology employees noted suspicious activity on it earlier in the month, Montana Chief Information Officer Ron Baldwin said. The server contained names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers and medical records related to health assessments, diagnoses, treatment, prescriptions and insurance.

That's some very important stuff. Imagine what a hacker could do with that information.

Luckily, officials say there is no evidence that the hackers ever accessed or stole any of that personal information.

Just to be safe, they are offering every affected person free credit monitoring and identity-fraud insurance for a year.

Don't live in Montana? Well these attacks aren't just happening there.

There are 17,000 unauthorized attempts to enter the state computer system every hour on average, or about six billion attempts per year. With that volume, it's difficult to ensure the state's computer security is a step ahead of the hackers' technology, [said Richard Opper, director of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services].

Like I always say, it's best to be proactive to keep hackers at bay. Invest in a identity monitoring service so you know the second a hacker tries to use your information for fraud. That way you can put a stop to it before it ruins your life.

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