By Wes O’Donnell
Managing Editor of In Military, InCyberDefense and In Space News.
On Sunday night, March 15, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was the target of a cyberattack meant to slow its operational response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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According to The Hill, the assault targeting HHS was not a hack but a distributed denial of service ( DDOS) attack.
This distinction is crucial in that there was no actual breach of the HHS system, which could have severely affected the HHS response to the pandemic. Instead, DDOS attacks use bots to overwhelm public-facing HHS systems.
SCOOP: HHS suffered a cyber-attack last night during the nation’s response to #COVIDー19. The attack appears to have been intended to slow the agency’s systems down, but didn’t do so in any meaningful way. From me and @JenniferJJacobs https://t.co/cE4OcXNorC
— Shira Stein (@shiramstein) March 16, 2020
Analysts within the U.S. government are currently trying to determine the origin of the attack. Officials have told Congress that the intelligence community fears that entities connected to Russia would try to use the current situation to sow even more chaos in American life.
This isn’t the first time that individuals have attempted to spread misinformation since the COVID-19 crisis began.
The National Security Council is currently assuring the public that recent viral text messages warning of a “national lockdown” are fake.
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. #coronavirus
— NSC (@WHNSC) March 16, 2020
This story is developing.
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