The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI are warning U.S. healthcare, pharmaceutical and research sectors working on the nation’s COVID-19 response to be aware they are the “prime targets” of “malicious actors” in China looking to steal their research.
“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 FBI and DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a Public Service Announcement issued on May 13.
“The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options,” the FBI and CISA said.
The announcement warned organizations researching COVID-19 of likely targeting and network compromise by communist China, saying the researchers should “take the necessary steps to protect their systems.”
“China’s efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nation’s response to COVID-19,” the announcement said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a May 14 statement, saying: