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Cyberattack hits US Department of Health and Human Services, was meant to disrupt coronavirus response, spread misinformation: report


Of all the horrible things

Photo by Getty Images/Bill Hinton/Contributor

A cyberattack hit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a Monday Bloomberg report.

According to ABC News, the attack — which took place on Sunday night — was meant to slow the U.S. response to COVID-19.

What are the details?

Administration sources told ABC News that the attack was directly related to the government's coronavirus response.

John Cohen, former acting Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said, "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."

Bloomberg reported that the attack luckily did not impact the agency's systems in a "meaningful way."

Just before midnight, the National Security Council tweeted, "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."

A source told Bloomberg that the tweet was related to the cyberattack, which reportedly began pumping false information about the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

Bloomberg reported, "The tweet was in part meant to address the hacking, which involved multiple incidents. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and other Trump administration officials are aware of the incident, one of the people said."

What else?

At the time of this writing, it does not appear that any hackers were able to extract data from the systems, and the outlet notes that Trump administration officials believe that the attacker was a "hostile foreign actor" but have neither officially confirmed the belief nor publicly identified a suspect in the cyberattack.

Bloomberg reported that Paul Nakasone — head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command — is looking into the incident.

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