Government-backed hackers are attacking healthcare and research institutions in an effort to steal valuable information about efforts to contain the new coronavirus outbreak, Britain and the United States said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said the hackers had targeted pharmaceutical companies, research organisations and local governments.
The NCSC and CISA did not say which countries were responsible for the attacks. But one U.S. official and one UK official said the warning was in response to intrusion attempts by suspected Chinese and Iranian hackers, as well as some Russian-linked activity.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public details of the alert. Tehran, Beijing and Moscow have all repeatedly denied conducting offensive cyberoperations and say they are the victims of such attacks themselves, Reuters reported.
State hacking groups “frequently target organisations in order to collect bulk personal information, intellectual property and intelligence that aligns with national priorities”, the NCSC and the CISA said.