The United States Department of Health and Human Services suffered a cyberattack that, those familiar with the matter told the press, intended to slow down the agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Data was not stolen, according to three officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The hack, which involved overloading the HHS servers with millions of hits over several hours, could have been the work of “hostile foreign actors,” but the Trump administration has not yet confirmed any of its suspicions.
Neither the White House nor the National Security Council (NSC) could be reached for comment.
NSC, upon learning about the hacking and release of disinformation, tweeted a message debunking claims of a national lockdown due to the coronavirus that circulated via text message.
— NSC (@WHNSC) March 16, 2020
News of the cyberattack comes as President Donald Trump continues to face criticism for his claim that the pandemic is “under control.”
“It’s a very contagious virus, it’s incredible, but it’s something we have tremendous control of,” Trump said during a White House press briefing yesterday, a direct contradiction of warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, that the U.S. could face a similar crisis as Italy if proper social distancing guidelines are not adhered to.
“People sometimes think that I’m overreacting. I like it when people are thinking I’m overreacting because that means we’re doing it just right,” Fauci said, adding that he had not ruled out calling for a national lockdown.