According to explosive reports published in two newspapers in the United States, research on developing a vaccine against coronavirus are being attempted to be hacked by Chinese hackers, according to alarms raised by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and cybersecurity experts in the country.
Even as the US government and private firms race to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 – the disease cause by the novel coronavirus pandemic, a plans of issuing a formal warning on the possibility of hacking of vaccine research information by Chinese hackers is being planned by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, reported the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
The reports claimed that information and intellectual property on treatments and testing for Covid-19 are also being targeted by the hackers. The reports further claimed, quoting sources and US officials, the hackers are linked to the Chinese government and that the official warning about the possible hacking could come within the next few days.
While rejecting the allegations, the Chinese Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the country firmly opposes all cyber attacks. “We are leading the world in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research. It is immoral to target China with rumors and slanders in the absence of any evidence,” Zhao said.
“What else is new with China? What else is new? Tell me. I’m not happy with China”, said the US president Donald Trump, when asked about the news reports of the hacking attempts. “We’re watching it very closely,” he added.
A possible alert on the incidents by the US will add on to a set of previous warnings and reports about government-backed hackers in Iran, North Korea, Russia and China being engaged in malicious activity related to the pandemic – which ranged from putting out false news to targeting workers and scientists.
According to the report by the New York Times, a formal alarm and warning issued by the US could be a prelude for the to embark on officially sanctioned counterattacks by US agencies that are tasked with cyber warfare – which includes the Pentagon’s Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.
Warnings of a rise in cyber attacks against health professionals involved in the coronavirus response was raises in a joint message by Britain and the United States last week. The tow countries said that organised criminals “often linked with other state actors” were involved in the attempts.
Large-scale “password spraying” tactics — hackers trying to access accounts through commonly used passwords, had been detected by National Cyber Security Centre and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of Britain, it said. these were aimed at healthcare bodies and medical research organisations.
(Adapted from DeccanChronicle.com)