A cyber attack aimed at spreading disinformation amid the coronavirus pandemic occurred Sunday night on the federal government’s computers for its leading health agency, Health and Human Services, according to three individuals familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg; plus more today’s top stories in conservative politics.
HHS suffers cyber attack amid coronavirus pandemic
A cyberattack that appears to be aimed at disseminating false information as well as slowing down the computer systems of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) of the federal government.
The cyber intrusion occurred on Sunday night, according to three people familiar with the event, who spoke to Bloomberg and requested anonymity, as the incident had not been made public.
One such piece of disinformation was the spreading of a false rumor that a national quarantine had been put in place across the US.
A little before midnight, the National Security Council (NSC) put out a tweet: “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.”
Officials assume the attack was made by a hostile foreign actor, but have no definitive proof at this time, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg.
Another individual familiar with the incident said that the NSC tweet was made, in part, to address the hacking, and added multiple incidents that occurred.
One individual also said that it does not appear that hackers took any data from the HHS systems and that the main hack involved overloading the HHS servers with millions of hits occurring over several hours.
Bloomberg said it reached out to the HHS, White House, and NSC, all of which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump calls on Americans to quit hoarding supplies
After speaking with leading grocery chain executives, President Donald Trump assured Americans that grocers will remain open during the coronavirus outbreak and that the supply chain remains resilient.
“You don’t have to buy so much,” President Trump said during a press conference. “Take it easy. Just relax.”
Vice President Mike Pence also urged Americans to only buy the groceries they need for the week ahead.
US infectious disease expert recommends aggressive isolation for all Americans
President Trump’s comments about Americans refraining from hoarding food and supplies came after the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would like to see more aggressive measures taken in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci is recommending actions such as a 14-date national shutdown that would require Americans to hunker down and isolate themselves from other people.
“I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting,” Dr. Fauci said.
US Surgeon General warns America at critical point with coronavirus
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Monday that the United States is at a “critical” point with the coronavirus outbreak and that we “have a choice to make as a nation.”
The Surgeon General added that “there’s every chance that we could be Italy” if we don’t take the preventative public health measures that experts have advised in recent weeks.
“Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates or do we want to go the direction of Italy?” he said. “And when you look at the projections there’s every chance that we could be Italy.”