By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  Maryland’s top lawyer announces long-term recommendations aimed to fight back against online criminals. It’s part of ongoing efforts to stop attempts to swipe your personal information.

Ava-joye Burnett explains the drastic moves being proposed are meant to protect businesses and the average citizen.

Cyber attackers are becoming bolder when it comes to stealing your info, so the attorney general and a special Maryland Cybersecurity Council are trying to stay one step ahead of a problem many believe will only get worse.

Maryland is waging war on the ever-evolving World Wide Web, after a reported 564 data breaches that affected more than 600,000 Marylanders in the 2016 fiscal year.

Cyber experts tell WJZ, Maryland is seeing more hacks every day.

“Even though you think you might be a small business and you’re not that interesting to hackers, think again, because you are a target to hackers,” says University of Maryland Cyber Security Manager Markus Rauschecker,

The Maryland Cybersecurity Council announced a list of recommendations for how the state can protect you. It includes no fees for people forced to freeze their credit because someone stole their personal information, or identifying state infrastructure that may give hackers a way into sensitive systems.

Last year, a virus crippled computers across the MedStar Health network, the second largest hospital system in the region. Hackers took over government websites across the U.S., including in Howard County.

Europe faced similar problems in June. Online bandits used ransomware to slow down business in airports, banks and even hospitals.

“Once this is out in your system, it sort of propagates itself without direct command from the hackers, and so it’s pervasive and sort of difficult to deal with,” says Fran Townsend, CBS News senior National Security analyst

In the so-called ransomware attacks, victims are forced to pay money before they can regain access to their own data.

“We are all kind of just waiting for that big attack to happen. Unfortunately, everyone needs to be mindful of the threat that’s out there and be ready for it.”

In an attempt to beat hackers at their own game, the Attorney General’s office wants to educate companies that may have critical infrastructure that could be at risk.

Hackers usually gain access by planting viruses into computer systems or even through a work computer that’s lost or stolen.

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