Hackers target US health agency; cybercriminals send fake quarantine messages amid COVID-19 crisis

  • Threat actors attempted to hack US Health and Human Services Department

  • National Security Council revealed that national quarantine messages are fake

While the world is currently struggling to limit the spread of COVID-19 even after imposing lockdown measures, the cybercriminals decided to attack the US Health and Human Services Department during this alarming situation.

The HHS was targeted in a cyber assault that took place over the weekend when the agency was busy combating the new strain of coronavirus which has killed nearly 100 people in the US and infected over 4,600 Americans.

The attack on HHS

It should be noted that as per HHS, they have put early protection to safeguard themselves from any kind of hacking activity during this Novel Coronavirus response efforts. A tweet by Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs on Monday, March 16 read, "The attack appears to have been intended to slow the agency's systems down."

Later, HHS confirmed the case and told USA Today that "On Sunday, we became aware of a significant increase in activity on HHS cyber-infrastructure and are fully operational as we actively investigate the matter." HHS also mentioned that the cyberattack did not affect any of their systems and the hackers behind this attempted security breach could not exploit any information obtained by the agency.

As reported by Bloomberg, HHS official said that it is likely that "a hostile foreign actor" had launched the cyberattack but there is no solid proof against those attackers who tried to hack HHS.

US Health and Human Services Department
US Health and Human Services Department Wikimedia commons

Fake messages by hackers

With the rapid spread of the Novel Coronavirus across the world, misinformation has followed suit. Recently, text messages were forwarded to several Americans which claimed that the author has a connection to someone working at a clinic or government agency who has revealed unannounced plans for an impending lockdown or quarantine.

The National Security Council tweeted about the spread of the disinformation on Sunday night. NSC tweeted that "Text message rumours of a national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown."

Related topics : Coronavirus Cybersecurity