Cybersecurity incident prevents Maryland Health Department from publishing data on Covid-19 cases

By Sean Lyngaas, CNN

The Maryland Department of Health has not released data on coronavirus case rates for nine days as it recovers from a “network security incident,” the department said on Tuesday.

The department is focused on “getting full visibility into the affected network infrastructure” and bringing the affected computer systems back online after the hack, department spokesman Andy Owen told CNN in a report. -mail.

In the meantime, data on vaccinations and hospitalizations, among other information related to the virus, is still being released, Owen said. “Our remaining data reports will be updated as soon as possible. “

Owen declined to answer questions about the cause of the hacking incident or when the department expects to be back online.

The Department of Health’s web pages were closed for the first time earlier this month following the security incident, Owen said in an earlier statement. A number of state agencies are working with federal and state law enforcement offices “to deal with the incident and gather additional information,” he said.

A spokesman for the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, did not respond to a request for comment.

The cyber attack is just the latest example of a hacking incident hampering a healthcare-related organization during the pandemic. The Los Angeles chapter of Planned Parenthood suffered a ransomware attack in October that compromised the personal information of approximately 400,000 patients.

Despite the enormous toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on hospitals and clinics, many cybercriminals have not refrained from holding the computer systems at these facilities hostage. There were more than 100 publicly reported ransomware attacks against healthcare providers in 2020, more than double the amount in 2019, according to Allan Liska, senior intelligence analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

This included a wave of computer network hacks at US hospitals in the fall of 2020. An incident forced hospitals at the University of Vermont Health Network to delay appointments for chemotherapy and mammography.

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.

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