Federal Bureau of Investigation accuses China of attempting to steal US COVID-19 research

14 Mai, 2020, 07:26 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation accuses China of attempting to steal US COVID-19 research

Western governments and cybersecurity researchers at various firms have said they have seen different hacking groups focus attention on coronavirus in recent months and have characterized that development as troubling, though not surprising.

The alert comes during heightened tensions between the United States and China over the source of the outbreak and Trump administration complaints that China failed to adequately alert the world to the danger posed by the virus. Federal authorities urged research organizations working on COVID-19 to be vigilant in their cybersecurity efforts. "Under legal authorities that President Trump issued almost two years ago, they have the power to bore deeply into Chinese and other networks to mount proportional counterattacks", the NYT reported.

China has been accused of spreading coronavirus misinformation to stir chaos, and officials have blamed China for healthcare-related hacks in the past.

Officials told the paper that the "non-traditional collectors" involved may include Chinese researchers and students working in the United States who may be interested in "infiltrating" USA academic and private laboratories in search of a vaccine. "We firmly oppose and fight all kinds of cyber attacks conducted by hackers", Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said this week.

The FBI said that it has monitored suspicious activity of attempts 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". "It is immoral for anyone to engage in rumor-mongering without presenting any evidence", he said in response.

The indictment said Ang was secretly part of the Xi-backed Thousand Talents program, which Washington says China uses to collect research from overseas.

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Last Thursday, China also claimed that a vaccine was developed in the country that had "proven effective in monkeys".

COVID-19 is a new disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which originated in China past year.

Asked if any local researchers have been victimized, Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the FBI Boston bureau, said agents don't unnecessarily reveal victims' identities in an effort to maintain confidentiality.

USA officials have long accused China of hacking and intellectual property theft. Even the infamous "deposed Nigerian princes" who want to deposit millions of dollars in your bank account, if you would just be so kind as to send them your account information, are back in the game.

Bill Evanina, director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Centre, has said China's theft of US intellectual property amounts to about $400bn a year.

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