Ransomware Cyberattack Hits Maryland Health Department

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A cyberattack that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has described as not as crippling as initially feared has impeded the state’s health department from releasing coronavirus case rates for a ninth straight day while department employees remained unable to access their computers or many portions of the agency’s network, reports the Washington Post. Health department spokesman Andy Owen said officials were working to bring network systems back online and restore full reporting capabilities while focusing on “gaining full visibility into the affected network infrastructure.” State Sen. Katie Fry Hester (D-Howard), who chairs a legislative joint committee on cybersecurity, information technology and biotechnology, said she has not been able to get any information from Hogan’s administration about what happened or when data will be available.

One cybersecurity expert said it’s impossible to know from the outside what sort of attack the department has faced. But, she said, “it sounds like they’re concerned that a lot of their network has been affected, and they don’t know yet what’s happened.” Meanwhile, public health workers gave varying accounts of the severity of problems they are facing due to the attack, with some saying services have largely continued unimpeded and others complaining that the lack of new coronavirus case information has hamstrung that jurisdiction’s contact-tracing efforts. See Also: U.S. Military Ends ‘Hands-Off’ Approach to Ransomware Attacks Against CiviliansThe Crime Report, December 6. 

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