DHSS Press Release: DHSS website experiencing cyberattack; some services disrupted as investigation is conducted

DHSS Press Release


Media contacts: Clinton Bennett, DHSS, 907-269-4996, clinton.bennett@alaska.gov

DHSS website experiencing cyberattack; some services disrupted as investigation
is conducted

May 18, 2021 ANCHORAGE –The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has identified the dhss.alaska.gov website as the target of a malware attack. The department is investigating the incident in cooperation with the appropriate authorities and is taking immediate actions to prevent further disruption and harm to its servers, systems and databases.

“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,” said Commissioner Adam Crum. “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.”

The DHSS website was taken offline the evening of Monday, May 17 while the investigation is being conducted and will be unavailable to the public until further details are known about the incident. Some services, such as COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling and the data dashboards, are hosted by outside sources and can still be accessed through covid19.alaska.gov.

The list of affected services is below. However, the department 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.

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. As is common with an investigation into this type of cyberattack, this one is expected to take some time to fully understand the full scope and impact of the incident.

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.), please 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. You may also email covid19vaccine@alaska.gov for help. We ask Alaskans for their patience as we work through this rapidly evolving situation during an already demanding time.

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List of DHSS services offline as of May 18, 2021

The following online services are currently offline. This list may change as some services go offline or others return back online. We recommend using the phone list attached to this press release if you have further questions about specific services.

  • 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