Chinese hackers are trying to steal US coronavirus vaccine research, FBI and DHS warn
Back in February, we told you about a story of four Chinese military spies charged by the US Government with hacking the credit bureau Equifax. Now, two U.S security agencies, FBI and DHS, are warning that Chinese hackers are targeting U.S. organizations conducting research on vaccines, treatments and testing related to the pandemic.
In a race to develop vaccine for coronavirus, Chinese state-backed hackers have been mobilized to target and steal the coronavirus research work from the US to create their own. These state-sponsored cyber actors are linked to the Chinese government. The groups are targeting and possibly seeking to compromise U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19 research, FBI and DHS warned Tuesday.
In a joint statement released by the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, the agencies said the hackers have been “attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research.”
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are issuing this announcement to raise awareness of the threat to COVID-19-related research. The FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRCaffiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors,” the announcement said.
These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research. The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options.
The FBI and CISA are urging all organizations conducting research in these areas to maintain dedicated cybersecurity and insider threat practices to prevent surreptitious review or theft of COVID-19-related material. FBI is responsible for protecting the U.S. against foreign intelligence, espionage, and cyber operations, among other responsibilities. CISA is responsible for protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats.