China-linked hackers are targeting US coronavirus vaccine research, FBI warns
The hackers have been caught attempting to “identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property” and public-health data related to coronavirus research, according to the U.S. government.
Jamil Jaffer, Senior Vice President – Strategy, Partnerships & Corporate Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, remarked, “In light of current warnings, for companies within the private sector, the best approach is avoid defending alone. With such severe potential impacts to our COVID-19 progress, when going up against nation-state actors like China who have nearly unlimited resources, the public and private sectors must work together to collectively defend our intellectual property. This means sharing real-time threat intelligence and resources and constant collaboration to combat these growing threats. In a time where highly-capable threat researchers are a hot commodity, sharing these resources is crucial to keeping up with highly-resourced adversaries.
A single entity cannot solely protect itself against nation-state attacks, but companies, academic institutions, and government agencies can band together to combat threats, and as a nation, we will be far more successful in warding off threats from major players like China. In addition to defending as a nation across the public and private sectors, we also have to understand how to deter China and other nation-states from their behaviors in cyberspace. The first step is showing that we have the capabilities and cyber tools to respond to attacks in a way that extracts costs. From there, we must establish clear redlines to show potential adversaries what types of attacks will warrant response and we must be willing to actually respond. This means when a nation-state actor crosses the lines we have established, we must respond and be seen to do so.
They have leveraged these tools and demonstrated their willingness to act aggressively both prior to and during the pandemic. We can anticipate the pace and scale of attacks will continue to increase as they leverage current events to cause disruption for other nations in an attempt to distract their citizens from the impact of COVID-19 at home.
The key challenge remains that the government still needs to provide the kind of actionable information necessary to defend these companies against this nation-state threat. Collaborating on that kind of actionable information is what is fundamentally needed to get ahead of these kinds of threats.”