US Accuses China of Cyber-attacks on Coronavirus Research

The US is accusing China of attempting to steal coronavirus research through cyber attacks.

US Accuses China of Cyber-attacks on Coronavirus Research
US Accuses China

US hospitals
, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, research laboratories, and government agencies have all reportedly fallen victim to cyber-attacks. This 
includes the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to CNN, authorities believe only Russia and China could be responsible for the attacks, with the latter being the more likely suspect. The US Department of Justice is concerned that coronavirus research may be a target not only because vaccine research would be valuable commercially but because “whatever country is able to produce it is going to have a significant geopolitical success story”.

American cybersecurity company FireEye has reported that a Chinese threat group under the name of APT41 is behind “one of the broadest campaigns by a Chinese cyber espionage actor” in recent years. The US is now working to ensure that they are able to protect themselves and their research from cyber attacks from China and other countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Russia.

The threat groups normally carry out their operations through ransomware attacks or phishing emails in order to steal data and sow disinformation. Bill Evanina, the Director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, advises medical research institutes to “be vigilant against threat actors seeking to steal intellectual property or other sensitive data” amid the pandemic.

He said that information on potential COVID-19 vaccines could be stolen then replicated abroad. The Cyber Threat Intelligence League, a group of over a thousand cybersecurity experts are currently fighting these cyberattacks together with the US. According to the league, the threat actors from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are exploiting the pandemic and “trying to steal everything”.

In March, elite hackers were reported to have attempted to infiltrate the World Health Organization. Reuters wrote that DarkHotel, a group of hackers with a history tracing back to 2007 was suspected of being behind the cyber attacks. The cyberattack was made to look like the World Health Organization’s internal email system in an effort to acquire the passwords of its staffers. Hackers have also been impersonating the World Health Organization to steal money and data from members of the public.

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