The United States has accused China of stealing intellectual property and data related to its research into the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
On May 13, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have released a warning on the attempted theft.
“The FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRC-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors. 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 warning said.
“This potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options”, added the statement.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the alleged hacking attempt by China in the time of crisis with a statement.
“The United States condemns attempts by cyber actors and non-traditional collectors affiliated with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to steal U.S. intellectual property and data related to COVID-19 research, as announced in a May 13, 2020 warning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” said the statement.
He called on the PRC to cease “this malicious activity” adding that the PRC’s behavior in cyberspace is an extension of its counterproductive actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the United States and our allies and partners are coordinating a collective, transparent response to save lives, the PRC continues to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens, and to spread disinformation, which has exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis,” the statement added.