In the midst of the current global pandemic, government-sponsored hackers have been targeting health and research institutions to steal valuable information that is essential to curb the spread of the virus.
The virus has killed over 255,000 people worldwide, and countries rely heavily on information from various health and research institutes to take various mitigation measures.
The same institutes are now being attacked by hackers. Great Britain and the USA have confirmed this in a joint warning.
In a statement on Tuesday, the U.S. Agency for Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security (CISA) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Center said government-sponsored hackers target research organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and local governments.
However, the CISA and the NCSC did not announce in their declaration which countries support the hackers mentioned.
Some UK and US officials said the warning came after intrusion by hackers believed to be from China and Iran. Some phishing activities are associated with Russian.
These officers spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public details of the warning.
While the suspects are all linked to China, Iran, and Russia, it is conflicting as Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow have already dismissed allegations and said they are victims of the crime themselves.
Typically, government-sponsored hackers often target organizations to steal valuable mass information, intellectual information, intelligent information, or confidential information.
These hackers have set themselves the goal of obtaining information about national and international health policies and are also trying to access sensitive data on COVID-19-related research results.
Although their goal is not currently clear, they are believed to want access to confidential COVID-19 related information, so they compromise government, businesses, and health authorities that are looking for information about this global pandemic that is now a threat to the international economy.
In recent weeks there has been news that hackers related to Vietnam have attempted to hack the Chinese government to steal confidential information including plans on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. It has also been reported that some hackers related to Iran tried to break into the World Health Organization.
Even though officials warn of attempted hacking, they say that the warning is not triggered by a specific incident or compromise, but is intended as a warning to the attackers and target organizations who need better protection.
The officials added that some organizations have classified themselves as non-governmental, but they should now understand that they need to protect themselves from hackers.
While many employees of such an organization are now working from home to curb the spread of infections in the workplace, many hackers have exploited this as a security hole.
One known hacking technique that is being used by most of these hackers is spraying passwords. The attackers repeatedly attempt to compromise accounts with several common and frequently used passwords.
The CISA spokesman replied to the claims that it comes as no surprise that bad actors are doing bad things, especially to attack those organizations that are supporting the fight against COVID-19.
Wayne Sims is the Lead Editor for Chroniclex with 12 years of experience. Wayne has been working for Many Large Online Publications for nearly a decade and has published his articles in many prints and digital publications including Erieview Newsstand, Bond Court News and Private Entertainment. When Wayne is not busy writing She likes stitching.