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Alaska health department website targeted in malware attack

May 19, 2021 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska health department website was the target of a malware attack, officials said.

A similar attack previously targeted the state’s court system.

The health department in a statement late Tuesday said its website was taken offline Monday while an investigation takes place. The statement did not say when the cyberattack was discovered, and Clinton Bennett, a department spokesperson, by email Wednesday said the department could not release that information “due to security reasons, and so we do not jeopardize the investigation.”

He responded the same way to a question about whether a ransom was demanded by those involved.

Investigators were trying to determine if any personal or confidential information was compromised, the department said.

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Online COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling and data dashboards are hosted by outside sources and can be accessed through covid19.alaska.gov, the department said.

“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 Department of Health and Social Services said in its statement.

The chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court said this month that a cybersecurity attack that resulted in the court system disconnecting its online services was first detected April 29 and that there was no ransom demand. The court system has been coming back online, announcing this week that the public could again access an online court case and records system and pay fines and fees online.

The court system said Tuesday that the ability to pay bail online was not yet restored.