Nation-state espionage group breaches Alaska Department of Health

A bear lumbers along a shore with pine trees in the background.

Enlarge / If Alaska’s native Ursus arctos population could be enlisted for cyber defense patrols, attackers might need paws for reflection before committing a criminal breach. (credit: Jared Lloyd via Getty Images)

Last week, Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) disclosed a security breach apparently made by a sophisticated nation-state level attacker.

According to DHSS—which contracted with well-known security firm Mandiant to investigate the breach—the attackers gained a foothold inside DHSS’ network via one of its public-facing websites, from which it pivoted to deeper resources.

A months-long saga

This is not the first report of the DHSS breach. The organization first publicly announced the intrusion on May 18, with a June update announcing a multipronged investigation, and one more in August on completion of the first of three investigatory steps.

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