By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Target has been ordered to pay out millions after a massive cyber breach, and Maryland is getting a piece of the pie.

$18.5 million is how much Target has agreed to pay 47 states and the District of Columbia after hackers penetrated the company’s system in 2013.

This is the largest multi-state data breach settlement.

Right in the thick of the holiday shopping season, Target was hit with a major data breach.

Now, three and a half years later, the big box store, one of the nation’s largest retailers, is having to pay up.

The breach affected more than 41 million customer card accounts.

Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office was part of that multi-million dollar settlement.

The state will receive $605,000.

“Hopefully it sends a message to other organizations to address their data concerns up front before there is a breach,” said Richard Trumka Jr., with the attorney general’s office.

This settlement also requires that Target maintains tougher encryption policies, along with other security measures.

“It is definitely a certainty that breaches will happen,” said cyber security expert Steve Taormino.

Taormino says big companies have huge challenges ahead.

“There is no impenetrable system. The question is how many layers of protection do you have,” he said. “So the more layers of protection you have in place, the less likely critical data is going to get out there and those breaches will be a big problem.”

The breach exposed payment and contact information for millions of people. The attorney general’s office recommends you keep an eye on your credit report.

“Take a proactive role,” Trumka said. “Check your bank statements regularly, look for unauthorized or unrecognized charges even if they are just for a dollar.”

As for the settlement, the attorney general’s office says Maryland’s cut will not be going to consumers, but the office would not elaborate on what it would be used for.

After the breach, target offered free credit reports for potential victims.

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