United States accuses Chinese ‘hackers’ of hacking information about a coronavirus vaccine

The US Department of Justice said that some of the attacked companies worked in biotechnology, weapons and drug design

The US Justice Department has charged two Chinese citizens with 11 charges on Tuesday for hacking Defense sector contractors – companies hired by the Government – and investigators of the coronavirus pandemic. According to court documents, hackers, who operated between 2014 and 2020, have targeted biotech companies that were working to develop a vaccine against covid-19. They also reveal that they accessed computers from companies based in different countries, including Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Belgium.

 

“This type of economic coercion is not what we expect from a trusted world leader. It is what we expect from an organized criminal union, ”FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said at a press conference. The court document alleges that Chinese citizens Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazh, 33, two former engineering students, participated for years in a cyber espionage campaign, in which they accessed information on weapon and drug design. They also reportedly attacked dissidents and human rights activists in the United States, China and Hong Kong. The defendants, according to Washington, acted for their own benefit, but also for the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the Chinese intelligence agency. According to prosecutors,spied software .

The indictment alleges that Li and Dong hacked computers and stole hundreds of millions of dollars in intellectual property and business trade secrets for more than a decade. In recent months, the two defendants “investigated vulnerabilities in biotechnology networks and other companies publicly known for their work on covid-19 vaccines, treatments and test technology,” the statement said. They have not disclosed the names of the companies, but they have specified that some are based in California, Maryland, Washington, Texas, Virginia and Massachusetts. The defendants are not in custody and authorities have acknowledged that they are unlikely to step on a US court.

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