A malware attack against the Department of Health and Social Services website shut down the dhss.alaska.gov website on Monday, DHSS announced in a press release on Tuesday. The department is investigating the attack and cooperating with authorities and taking attack to prevent further disruption to its servers, computer systems and databases.
An outside vendor hosts some services such as COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling and the data dashboards, and those can still be accessed through covid19.alaska.gov.
“I am grateful to our Information Technology staff for the long hours they have already put in to work through this cyberattack and for everyone at DHSS who is making sure our programs and services have not been halted,” DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum wrote in the press release. “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. 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.”
DHSS took its website offline on Monday evening. It will be unavailable to the public until further details are known about the incident. DHSS said it is working as quickly as possible to ensure continuity of services to beneficiaries and providers. Investigators are also in the process of determining whether any personal or confidential information was compromised.
According to the press release, DHSS has 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 will continue to provide updates to the public as details are confirmed, including notifying any partners, vendors or individuals who may be identified as being directly affected by the attack.
For phone assistance during business hours (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.), contact the department at 907-269-7800 or download a detailed list of contacts for divisions, sections and programs. For questions specific to COVID-19, the COVID-19 vaccine helpline is available at 907-646-3322 from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekends or email email@example.com for help.
List of DHSS services offline as of May 18:
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