US accuses China-linked hackers of stealing coronavirus research

Platform News: COVID-19 and coronavirus

China-linked hackers are breaking into American organisations carrying out research into COVID-19, US officials said, warning both scientists and public health officials to be on the lookout for cyber theft. 

KEY POINTS

  • US officials suggest that China-linked hackers are breaking into American organisations to steal research into COVID-19
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security are investigating digital break-ins at US organisations
  • China denies US allegations of cyber-espionage

In a joint statement, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating digital break-ins at US organisations by China-linked “cyber actors” that it had monitored “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 statement offered no further details on the identities of the targets or the hackers.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China routinely denies longstanding American allegations of cyber-espionage.

Coronavirus-related research and data have emerged as a key intelligence priority for hackers of all stripes. Last week the news agency Reuters reported that Iran-linked cyber spies had targeted staff at US drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc, whose antiviral drug remdesivir is the only treatment so far proven to help COVID-19 patients.

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In March and April, Reuters reported on advanced hackers’ attempts to break into the World Health Organisation as the pandemic spread across the globe.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘US accuses China-linked hackers of stealing coronavirus research‘ article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Raphael Satter. Editing by Howard Goller.

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