Hackers Take Down Illinois Public Health Agency Website During Peak Coronavirus Frenzy

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Recently, hackers launched a new cyberattack on an Illinois-based health agency’s website, making it difficult to distribute accurate information regarding the coronavirus.

This Tuesday, cybercriminals attacked a website belonging to an Illinois-based health agency, taking it down in the process. [The Hill] The attack comes at a rather unfortunate time, considering the rapid spreading of coronavirus in the United States.

Coronavirus Scares Only Worsening

Many of the locals rely on such websites for delivering accurate and up-to-date information regarding the virus outbreak and new developments. With the site down, it has become difficult to acquire accurate data from a trusted source.

The health agency in question is known as the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, and it recently announced on Facebook that its website is down. The agency also provided an email address and a phone number that people in the district could use to contact the agency in case of any coronavirus concerns.

The Agency Launches a Second Website

This Thursday, the agency wrote another Facebook post, revealing that it is still working on returning the website. However, in the meantime, they set up a new one to allow easier access to information to anyone who needs it.

The website itself was allegedly taken down by ransomware, which explains why the recovery is taking so long. It is estimated that it will likely remain down for at least another week.

The health district’s chief administrator, Julie Pryde, called the attack ‘inconvenient,’ but also reassured everyone that the district has a ‘robust continuity of action plan’ in place. However, Pryde did not reveal what data was accessed by the hackers, or potentially lost in the attack.

The health agency itself serves more than 200,000 people, including the University of Illinois’ students. Even the University itself recently announced that students will from now on only take online classes due to the virus outbreak.

It is also worth mentioning that the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber arm, CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) recently warned that something like this might happen. Hackers are known to use fear to attack systems and get what they want, and coronavirus spreading comes as a perfect opportunity for them to do just that.

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.
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Ali is a freelance journalist, having 7 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. Ali holds a master degree in finance and enjoys writing about cryptocurrencies and fintech. Ali's work has been published on a number of well-known publications in crypto and cybersecurity niches. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.

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