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Department of Health and Social Services Clarifies Extent of May 2021 Cyberattack

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:23 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:25 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In May 2021, a cyberattack was discovered on the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) website. Many security and technology officers did their best to combat it.

Mandiant, an anti-cyberattack company, was called in to help.

Scott McCutcheon, Department of Technology Officer for Department of Health and Social Services said Mandiant is a global expert that has responded to over 800 cyber events all over the world.

A press release stated that the breach reached the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act (APIPA) and as well as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). These two programs have highly confidential information within them, and someone breaking into them is a reason of concern.

The press release indicated that this person who hacked into this information is a highly intelligent individual.

Thor Ryan, Chief Information Security Officer for Department of Health and Social Services said, “We first became aware of this on May 5th, we contracted with Mandiant, Mandiant took a look at our environment and identified that the earliest that the attacker came was on May 2nd.”

The type of information stolen included full names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers, Internal identifying numbers (case reports, protected service reports, Medicaid, etc.), health information, financial information, and historical information concerning a person’s interaction with DHSS.

If you are concerned that your information has been stolen, the advice from the state is to download a credit watching app, talk to your bank about what you can do to freeze your accounts, and contact the police.

The hacker has been found and removed from the DHSS website.

McCutcheon said, “There are no indications of compromise at this time in our domain so we feel confident moving ahead and restoring services.”

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