COVID-19 Research is the New Target of Nation-State hackers

As if the chaos of the global pandemic was not enough already! The cyber attackers funded by Nation-State are rapidly targeting the companies involved in COVID-19 research with malicious aims of data stealing and illegal manipulation of the information. The attackers have already breached multiple systems and are now investigating the researchers to release paramount details.

Online Panel Discussion by Tonya Ugoretz

The Aspen Institute, Reuters, has reported that the United States’ FBI Deputy Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz has acknowledged that hackers are doing cyber activities aimed for COVID-19 research data hunting with specific organizations in an online panel discussion.

Ugoretz has stated that when any company publicly reports that they are investigating or doing research on the disease, it makes them a mark for the different Nation-States who are seeking information about what those companies are doing. In some cases, the Nation-States hackers were found stealing sensitive information from companies investigating the global pandemic.

As much as the public and data security specialists want to know about the identity of the hackers, there were no specific hackers or group names mentioned in the discussion.

Why are hackers stealing COVID-19 research information?

As a general rule, when data increases in value, the number of attacks and threats towards the information also proliferate. The attacks and risks become more advanced and more targeted with greater resources and funding operating behind them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a situation suitable for gaining international focus, including the attention of hackers and data stealers. It is for the first time in recent history when everyone is focusing and diverting all the attention towards medical sciences, food availability, and supply chains.

Will the attacks continue?

We have to expect that the attacks towards these areas of concern will become more advance. Moreover, it is imperative to keep in mind that the Nation-State cyber threat actors and organized criminals are becoming more powerful in this situation.

What is the possible solution?

Undoubtedly, the data regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is the focal point of interest of international parties. Since this research data is of high value, the numbers of attackers and attack groups will also increase simultaneously. Health care services and relevant research entities must make their security systems stronger, more reliable, and robust so that they can handle any kind of cyberattack and data-stealing threat.

One way to keep cyber attackers and organized crime away from the equation is to share the COVID-19 research publicly. Once the research goes public, the value of the research information will decrease, and the cyber attackers will divert their threats consequently.

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