Multiple advisories over the last week claim that state actors and criminal groups are targeting institutions on the front line of the Covid-19 response with cyberattacks and espionage.
As Covid-19 outbreaks put health systems to the ultimate test, reports have emerged of vicious cyberattacks targeting medical facilities involved in the pandemic response. The USA and the UK issued an advisory warning of such cyberattacks.
The advisory states that organizations like pharmaceutical companies, academics, medical research organizations, local governments, and Covid-19 hospitals. FireEye, a leading US cybersecurity firm also reported a spike in cyber espionage from China against the United States since the outbreak.
The US government officials have recently gone on record to claim that cyberattacks have grown against US government agencies and medical institutions on the front line of the Covid-19 response. They have blamed China for carrying out major cyber espionage operations against critical institutions in the US.
Chinese group APT41 carried out “one of the broadest campaigns by a Chinese cyber espionage actor we have observed in recent years.”Cybersecurity Group FireEye
Similarly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint warning of network compromise by the People’s Republic of China that institutions in healthcare, pharmaceutical, and research sectors involved in COVID-19 response should be on alert against.
Department of Health and Human Services, the parent department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen a surge in daily strikes, as per CNN. The Covid-19 research information, which is touted as “the holy grail of biomedical research” currently also has significant commercial and geopolitical value.
The US is wary of China’s cyber onslaught as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated last week that, “The biggest threat isn’t our ability to work with China on cyber, it’s to make sure we have the resources available to protect ourselves from Chinese cyberattacks.”