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US Department of Health suffers cyberattack amid battle with coronavirus

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/lolloj)

The US Health and Human Services Department was on the receiving end of a seemingly unsuccessful cyberattack (opens in new tab), the goal of which was to disrupt the operations of the institution amid the coronavirus outbreak.  

According to a Bloomberg report (opens in new tab), the institution’s servers were bombarded in an attempt to take them offline. However, additional security measures meant the HHS managed to withstand the attacks.

“We are aware of a cyber-incident related to the Health and Human Services computer networks, and the federal government is investigating this incident thoroughly,” said John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, in a statement.

“HHS and federal government cybersecurity professionals are continuously monitoring and taking appropriate actions to secure our federal networks. HHS and federal networks are functioning normally at this time."

At a White House briefing on the coronavirus, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said: "we had no penetration into our networks, we had no degradation of the functioning of our networks."

Meanwhile, the National Security Council identified a mass text message that incorrectly asserted that a two-week quarantine is about to be imposed on the US. Officials believe the two incidents are connected.

COVID-19 is believed to have originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan. To date, more than 185,000 have been infected and roughly 7,400 have died.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.