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Alaska News

Cyberattack targeting Alaska’s state health department website disrupts some online services

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: May 19
  • Published May 18

A malware attack targeting the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ website has prompted the disruption of some online services as the website remains unavailable to the public, the state health department said Tuesday evening.

Investigators have not yet determined whether the cyberattack compromised confidential or personal information, DHSS said in a statement.

“At this time, there are no details about who initiated the attack, why they targeted DHSS, whether this attack is related to any other recent attacks, or how long the website may be down,” the state health department said, adding that it’s “expected to take some time to fully understand the full scope and impact of the incident.”

The dhss.alaska.gov website was taken offline Monday evening and will remain unavailable as the investigation continues, the state health department said. COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling and data dashboards remain accessible at covid19.alaska.gov, as they are hosted by outside sources.

DHSS said in a statement that it is investigating the cyberattack “in cooperation with the appropriate authorities and is taking immediate actions to prevent further disruption and harm to its servers, systems and databases.”

This is the second recent malware attack reported by a state agency in recent weeks: On May 1, the Alaska Court System disconnected many of its services from the internet after someone outside the network placed malware on the system, including four servers and two computers.

“Unfortunately, this type of malicious attack is part of the cost of conducting any kind of business online as there are constant threats from people worldwide trying to infiltrate IT systems,” DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said in the statement. “I want to assure Alaskans that our department is doing everything possible to get our website back up and running safely and to understand the scope of the attack, its impacts, and how to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Those needing phone assistance during business hours, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., may contact DHSS at 907-269-7800.

Below is the DHSS list of services that are offline as of Tuesday:

• AKAIMS: Alaska’s behavioral health and substance abuse management system

• DHSS public website

• State of Alaska vital records system

• DHSS background check system

• Find a childcare provider

• Case management system: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work activities

• IBIS: Indicator Based Information System for Public Health

• ILP: Grantee based system for Infant Learning Program (grantee-based information exchange for the Infant Learning Program, grantee-based reporting for the Infant Learning Program)

• SAGE: system for schools to report vaccine data to Public Health

• YODA: Youth Offender Data Application for youth courts

• GEMS: grantee portal for Grants Electronic Management System

• AKVaxMatch: Alaska provider vaccine exchange

• Developmental disabilities waiver online form

• DHSS epidemiological bulletins

• Count of available beds in various behavioral health facilities

• Review process for health care construction projects and equipment purchases state expends for Medicaid

• Vital statistics online data request form

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