U.S. Health Agency Suffers Cyber-Attack – Expert Reaction

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department suffered a cyber-attack on its computer system, aimed at undermining the response to the coronavirus pandemic.


EXPERTS COMMENTS
Vahid Behzadan, Ph.D, Assistant Professor,  University of New Haven
March 18, 2020
The level of sophistication involved in this attack is low, and could have been the work of either activists or nation-state sponsored actors.
It appears that a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack was launched against the HHS web infrastructure. These attacks aim to overload their targets and slow down their operational capacities. The attack occurred around the time when a disinformation campaign was started to disseminate false information about a country-wide lockdown due to COVID-19. Some have speculated that the DDoS attack ....
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Adam Laub, CMO,  STEALTHbits Technologies
March 17, 2020
Just DDoS style attacks aimed at bringing down critical infrastructure.
We’d like to think that in a world where everyone is effectively in the same boat, a sense of togetherness, an unwritten code of conduct, or even a sense of morality would prevent bad actors from doing bad things – even if just temporarily. This obviously is not the case and if anything should serve as a reminder to organizations that one threat hasn’t been traded for another. To the contrar ....
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Erich Kron, Security Awareness Advocate,  KnowBe4
March 17, 2020
Americans get their news and these providers have a responsibility to reduce panic.
The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is already stretching resources thin, and attacks such as this are unfortunately not unexpected. This is an example of the fact that we can expect cyber attacks to occur during times of heightened emotions and significant changes within the workforce, especially as commercial and government workers look at working from home. Any time there are chang ....
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Kevin Bocek, VP Security Strategy & Threat Intelligence,  Venafi
March 17, 2020
Every organisation, from governments and banks to payment providers, retailers or manufacturers must be on high alert for cyberattacks.
The attack on US Health & Human Services department is a clear sign that we’ll soon face a cyber attack crisis in addition to the coronavirus pandemic. Attackers of all types – from cybercriminals seeking profits to terrorists and other seeking disruption, and even nation-states will seek to hit their targets when they are distracted, striking when governments and businesses have their hands f ....
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Sam Curry, Chief Security Officer,  Cybereason
March 17, 2020
DO NOT HACK FOR ANY REASON RIGHT NOW: not politics, not profit.
Here's why the reported breach of the Dept of Health and Human Services is horrendous. Damage like this at this time is not “white hat” or even “grey hat.” It’s dark as dark. It’s as bad as stealing generators, gas or food in a time of natural disaster. What breaches like this do is accelerate the virus potentially by making measures and controls not reach the people that need them. Th ....
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Greg Wendt, Executive Director ,  Appsian
March 17, 2020
A number of research firms, such as FireEye and Recorded Future, have already sited seeing an increase in breaches.
As organizations and government entities rush to adjust to a new remote work culture amid the coronavirus pandemic, they must first consider how they will effectively maintain secure user authentication and data security. After all, telecommuting means perimeter firewalls and corporate networks are not leveraged as originally intended. What’s more, government institutions such as the HHS are ke ....
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