US indicts two Chinese nationals for seeking to steal COVID-19 vaccine

WION Web Team
Washington Published: Jul 21, 2020, 09:48 PM(IST)

Chinese lab trying to develop COVID-19 vaccine in Shenyang Photograph:( AFP )

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Earlier,  Britain, the United States and Canada had accused Russian hackers of targeting coronavirus research.

The US Justice Department said today that two Chinese nationals have been indicted for hacking coronavirus vaccine research.

The Justice Department said that the Chinese hackers also targeted human rights activists in the United States and Hong Kong while adding that they were  working with China's ministry of state security.

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Earlier,  Britain, the United States and Canada had accused Russian hackers of targeting coronavirus research. They had said that a Russian hacking group called APT29 was behind the online attacks.

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The US said the Chinese nationals were Li Xiaoyu, 34, and Dong Jiazhi, 33.  FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said: "Cybercrimes directed by the Chinese government's intelligence services not only threaten the United States but also every other country that supports fair play, international norms, and the rule of law.

US Attorney William Hyslop added that computer systems of many businesses, individuals and agencies throughout the United States and worldwide have been hacked

However, Russia denied the reports. America had named another Russian group "cozy bear" and had said it was involved in hacking the research. In May, America had claimed that Iran and China have tried to hack American research.

There are at last 140 vaccines in pre-clinical stage with at least two in large-scale efficacy trials including the Moderna vaccine in the United States and Oxford-AstraZeneca from the UK.

Earlier, Britain's National Cyber Security Centre had said a Russian group called APT29 was linked to the country's intelligence service and was involved in hacking the virus research. 

"The NCSC assesses that APT29, also named the Dukes or Cozy Bear, almost certainly operate as part of Russian Intelligence Services," the National Cyber Security Centre had said.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hit out against Russia calling it "reckless behaviour" and "completely unacceptable" that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic."

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