Today, the US Justice Department charged two Chinese hackers with targeting US COVID-19 research. The charges were part of an 11-count indictment that alleges the two individuals conducted a global hacking campaign that went on for more than 10 years. Most recently, the hackers probed for vulnerabilities in the computer networks of a Massachusetts biotech firm conducting COVID-19 vaccine, testing and treatment research.
This isn’t a total surprise. In April, CNN reported an uptick in cyberattacks at the Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the CDC. Officials said China-based hackers were to blame. In May, the FBI warned that China-backed hackers were attempting to steal COVID-19 research from US organizations. In July, intelligence officials said Russian hackers targeted healthcare organizations Canada, the UK and the US. Today’s charges are believed to be the first to officially accuse foreign hackers of targeting coronavirus research in the US, AP reports.