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Cyber-Terrorists Strike US Health Agencies amidst Coronavirus Response

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Cyber-Terrorists Strike US Health Agencies amidst Coronavirus Response

CEO Insights team , 0

Triggered by rumors of two-week long mandatory national quarantine/national lockdown, the attacks failed to fulfill their objective to slow down the agencies’ servers.

Stealing data, altering, disabling, destroying it, or an attempt to gain unauthorized access to its assets, whatever may have been the motive behind it, but the US Health & Human Services Department underwent a cyber attack this Sunday night when the nation was busy contending with the Coronavirus pandemic.

While no data breach or infrastructural damage has been reported, experts are of the opinion that this offensive maneuver might be the crooked deed of some foreign agency bent on undermining the nation’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The attack involved overloading the HHS servers with millions of hits over several hours. Intended to slow down the departments’ computer systems, the attackers failed to fulfill their motives as the data & systems remain unimpaired & intact.

Speaking exclusively to CEO Insights India, Marty Puranik, Cybersecurity Expert & CEO, Atlantic.net, says, “It is unfortunate that HHS would be attacked during a pandemic. Luckily it slowed, but didn't break or compromise anything. Not only this mishap highlights how important it is to have process & procedures in place prior to outside events, but also proves that these wicked attackers will take advantage of any situation, even global emergencies, to profit for themselves. It is high time to realize that attackers will try to take advantage of you when the chips are down”. He adds to it, “It is very difficult to fight multiple fires, the actual pandemic and reacting to data security procedures;

HHS and federal government cybersecurity professionals are continuously monitoring and taking appropriate actions to secure our federal networks



that's why it is important to have those in place before volatile events occur”.

Commenting on this cyber-attack, John Ullyot, Spokesman, National Security Council, says, “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”.

“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,” he concludes.

What may have triggered such a malicious cyber-attack remains a mystery. But shortly before the attack, fake text messages claiming a mandatory ‘national quarantine’ and ‘national lockdown’ where in circulation. Concerned people see this as one of the aspect that may have led to this cyber threat. While the US president, Donald trump, never proposed a mandatory quarantine, he had just asked people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 and stop eating out at restaurants & going to bars, as a measure to contain the Coronavirus.

Following the European nations, the US too is shutting down schools, bars & theaters in an attempt to counter the novel virus. While people remain at home except for essential needs, public buildings are being temporarily shut down amidst the fear of the rising number of confirmed Coronavirus cases. Moreover, the administration has barred people from high-risk countries from traveling to the US. According to authorities, sticking to official channels & not the ‘profane’ networks that tend to exploit emotions is the need of the hour.

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