Chinese hackers are targeting American universities, pharmaceutical and other health-care firms in a bid to steal intellectual property related to coronavirus treatments and vaccines and the intrusions may be jeopardizing progress on medical research, U.S. officials said in an alert Wednesday.

The alert came as U.S. officials charge that China and Iran since at least Jan. 3 have waged cyberattacks against American firms and institutions that are working to find a vaccine for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, officials said.

The attacks have raised the prospect among some officials that the efforts could be viewed by the Trump administration as a direct attack on U.S. public health, they said, because the attacks may have hindered vaccine research in some cases.

Both the FBI and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said that health care and pharmaceutical researchers need to be alert to potential attacks and should take measures to protect their data.

Neither organization released names of any specific institutions that had been targeted. The Department of Justice said institutions that have received media attention for their efforts related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, should assume that they would be targeted and should take precautions.

“The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. It comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries over the source of the outbreak and Trump administration complaints that China did not adequately alert the world to the danger posed by the new coronavirus. China has urged the U.S. to “stop unwarranted accusations.”

Todd Horwitz Chief Strategist BubbaTrading.com
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