The US Health and Human Services Department was on the receiving end of a seemingly unsuccessful cyberattack, the goal of which was to disrupt the operations of the institution amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to a Bloomberg report, 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.