Coronavirus: Rival states targeted UK and US COVID-19 labs with ‘malicious cyber campaigns’

by Sky News | 6th May 2020 12:02 pm

A joint advisory does not name any specific country, but culprits are understood to include China, Russia and Iran.

The UK and US have warned that state-backed cyber attackers are trying to steal data from universities, pharmaceuticals and research institutes involved in the coronavirus response.

Organisations trying to develop a COVID-19[1] vaccine are among those being targeted.

A joint advisory published on Tuesday did not name any specific country involved in the “malicious cyber campaigns”, but culprits are understood to include hacking groups from China, Russia and Iran, as well as others.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, called the attacks “particularly venal” given that they were targeting international and national organisations responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

“There are various objectives and motivations that lie behind these attacks, from fraud on the one hand to espionage,” he said at the daily Downing Street briefing.

“We expect this kind of predatory criminal behaviour to continue and evolve over the coming weeks and months ahead, and we are taking a range of measures to tackle the threat.”

Mr Raab added: “We’re absolutely determined to defeat coronavirus, and also to defeat those trying to exploit the situation for their own nefarious ends.”

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