Maryland COVID data access ‘partially restored’ after security incident

The Maryland Department of Health confirmed progress in restoring data following a network security incident that brought the department website offline.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, officials said that the state’s cybersecurity experts continued working with law enforcement and noted no evidence of compromised data during this incident.



Maryland’s health department also confirmed that coronavirus testing data, which was reportedly inaccessible during part of the security incident, was partially restored. The department’s goal remains complete restoration.

“The incident command structure is intensely focused on the full restoration and reporting of surveillance data, taking into account all of the steps and protocols involved in the transmission and verification of the data,” the department said.

Officials also confirmed that they had briefed the Board of Public Works and Maryland legislators about the incident. The department committed to giving those state lawmakers updates as the investigation continued.

The outage, first reported by The Washington Post, suggested a ransomware attack was at fault. The Maryland Department of Health has not confirmed that ransomware caused the incident, and they have not used that language to describe this event.

The agency confirmed that its website was operational following the weekend cybersecurity incident. However, the department of health said, “out of an abundance of caution, servers will remain offline.”

MDH has not reported new data on cases or deaths since Dec. 4. Due to the server outage, Maryland’s seven-day trend line of cases has dropped to zero. A note on Maryland’s COVID-19 portal notes that updates will resume “as soon as possible.”

This update followed other reports of large ransomware attacks in the D.C. area, including an attack on IT service providers for the Virginia state legislature.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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