Hackers target US health agency during coronavirus crisis
The US Health and Human Services Department was attacked over the weekend, according to multiple reports, as coronavirus continues to spread.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
As government staff and health care workers scramble to respond to the widening pandemic of the coronavirus the US Health and Human Services Department discovered hackers attacked its systems Sunday night. Bloomberg, which reported the attack citing anonymous sources, said the hackers seemed focused on slowing the agency's response to the crisis, but "didn't do so in any meaningful way."
HHS said in a statement that it saw a "significant increase in activity" Sunday evening, but that it was still "fully operational."
The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, also known as CISA, said it's already taken steps to prepare government systems as more people work remotely. "We're confident that the measures we've all put into place are sufficient, and we will stay on the lookout for and defend against malicious activity," said CISA spokeswoman Sara Sendek.
Watch this: Pandemic: Here's what's changed about the coronavirus
For hackers, there's a lot of potential to wreak havoc. Government and health officials are sometimes issuing new guidance multiple times per day, and they've been more strict about various social measures. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control said gatherings of more than 50 people should be halted for the next two months. Meanwhile, markets have plunged amid concerns about how the crisis will hit the economy.