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Cyberattack Hits US Health Agency Amid Coronavirus Response Efforts

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The U.S. Health and Human Services Department suffered a cyberattack Sunday night, March 15, during the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reports.

A related hack and various text messages apparently were designed to convince Americans that a national quarantine would soon be announced. The National Security Council says no such shutdown is planned, Bloomberg reports.

Sources told Bloomberg that there is no evidence that hackers took data from HHS systems, and the cyberattack is believed to have been launched by a hostile foreign actor. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), is looking into the cyberattack, and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and other federal officials are aware of the incident.

Coronavirus Cybersecurity Tips

Many businesses are allowing employees to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, which increases cyber risk for these companies and their workers. Fortunately, there are many things that businesses can do to limit cyber risk throughout the coronavirus pandemic, such as:

  • Ensure cybersecurity policies, guidelines and programs are in place to secure data and systems.
  • Teach employees how to identify and respond to phishing attacks.
  • Do not allow workers to share computers or other devices.
  • Encrypt data and virtual private network (VPN) traffic.
  • Apply regular security updates across all business devices.
  • Require two-factor or multi-factor authentication on all business devices.
  • Leverage mobile device management and mobile application management solutions.

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered cybersecurity conference cancelations and postponements and global health concerns, and MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E will continue to provide coronavirus updates.

Third-Party Reporting

As foreign adversaries attempt to spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, its extra important for MSSPs and MSPs to leverage reliable news sources. In addition to MSSP Alert, we recommend:

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.