ANNAPOLIS (AP) — The disruption of Maryland’s reporting of COVID-19 data last month was caused by a ransomware attack, state officials said Wednesday.

Chip Stewart, the state’s chief information security officer, said the state has not paid extortion demands for the attack, which began on Dec. 4.

“While the investigation is ongoing — and is occurring on a parallel track to our restoration efforts — we can confirm this much today: this was, in fact, a ransomware attack,” Stewart said.

Stewart declined to talk about any motive for the cyberattack on the state health department.

“Unlike many organizations, which take days or weeks to contain security incidents, MDH was able to isolate and contain its systems within several hours of first detecting the incident,” Stewart said.

As a result of containment measures, some some services were rendered unavailable and some remain offline.

“We are recovering with deliberate action to minimize the likelihood of reinfection,” Stewart said.

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