The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is leading the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, was hit by a cyberattack on its computer system Sunday evening, according to a report from Bloomberg:
“The attack appears to have been intended to slow the agency’s systems down, but didn’t do so in any meaningful way, said the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss an incident that was not public
“The National Security Council tweeted just before midnight: ‘Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown. @CDCgov has and will continue to post the latest guidance on #COVID19.'”
John Cohen, a former acting Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security told ABC News that such attacks are to be expected and may ramp up as the United States attempts to respond to the growing public health crisis:
“As federal state and local governments focus on handling the current public health crisis, national security officials are also tracking other threats — in particular those posed by terrorist or extremist groups and foreign adversaries who may seek to take advantage of all of the attention being focused on the coronavirus and conduct an attack.”
Early evaluations of the attack on computer systems at HHS suggest that no information was compromised:
“It doesn’t appear that the hackers took any data from the systems, one of the people said. Administration officials assume that it was a hostile foreign actor, but there is no definitive proof at this time.
“The administration has not yet confirmed who was behind the attack, according to a U.S. official. The hack involved overloading the HHS servers with millions of hits over several hours.”
Paul Nakasone, who heads the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, is investigating the attack on HHS.
The White House and HHS have not yet addressed the cyberattack.
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