Alaska state health officials say cyberattackers had access to personal resident information

    "Cyber attack red text between blue binary data on screen" by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The cyberattack against the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services earlier in the year may have compromised some Alaskan's personal and health information to the attackers.

    They said in a statement that given the "capabilities of the nation-state sponsored attacker and the scope of access they had to the department’s infrastructure," they cannot be assured there is a low probability that protected health information was compromised.

    In the same statement, they state that full names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers, internal identifying numbers, health information, financial information, and historical information concerning individuals’ interaction with the department were the types of data compromised.

    Technology Officer for the Department, Scott McCutcheon, was asked at a press event Thursday for the number of individuals whose data may have been compromised.

    "In terms of the total number of the population total or the number of actual people that had a breach of their personal identifiable information or their data, we couldn't ascertain that number at all," he said. "It's a very approximate process, to come into a breach determination, and so that was what the group came back with is that there was a probability that Alaskans had some information breached, and in terms of a population count we could not even estimate that."

    Free credit monitoring will be available for any concerned Alaskan as a result of this breach, and on September 21st a toll-free hotline will be available to assist people with signing up for service.

    The DHSS officials were asked about where they are currently at with their recovery process, McCutcheon cited that in 2020, the Computer hardware company IBM put out a notice that it typically takes 280 days to respond to a cyber event.

    "We're at painfully we're at day 137 of the event, and we're moving forward, but we have able to restore some services, so I feel like we've made good progress, but we're in various stages of restoration."

    Commissioner Adam Crum added that they know that the systems being down has put a burden on the general public on an already tough year, but said this is something they are continuing to grind through.

    "We are working to get them up online as fast as possible, while also protecting for future attacks, and this difficult process to rebuild and make the plane stronger while you fly it is really where we're at," Crum said. "But we're going to continue this process, we're looking at our timelines and does future help need to be brought in and in order to do this, because our IT staff are working around the clock to make sure that this remediation occurs while at the same time maintain functionality on a department that has 1000 different servers."

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