The Trump administration plans to issue a warning that cyber actors linked to the Chinese government are working to obtain U.S. research on coronavirus treatments and vaccines, according to a person familiar with the matter. The warning and its focus were first reported by the New York Times.
The advisory is expected to be issued jointly by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, though the timing of its release is fluid. Both agencies have closely monitored the activities of a range of foreign government hackers during the pandemic and have warned that universities, research facilities and healthcare institutions could face heightened risk.
“We certainly have seen reconnaissance activity, and some intrusions, into some of those institutions, especially those that have publicly identified themselves as working on COVID-related research,” FBI Deputy Assistant Director for the Cyber Division Tonya Ugoretz said during a panel discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute last month.