Yesterday U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had revealed charges against two Chinese hackers for allegedly involved in hacking government agencies and organizations in across 11 countries and now Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 testing agencies
The 11-count indictment was released against LI Xiaoyu (李啸宇), 34, and DONG Jiazhi (董家志), the hackers were involved in stealing terabytes of sensitive data including companies that were involved in developing COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, testing in behalf of China’s Ministry of State Security.
China has now taken its place, alongside Russia, Iran and North Korea, in that shameful club of nations that provide a haven for cybercriminals in exchange for those criminals being ‘on-call’ to work for the benefit of the state, here to feed the Chinese Communist party’s insatiable hunger for American and other non-Chinese companies’ hard-earned intellectual property, including COVID-19 researchsaid Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
The cybercrime intrusion was first found on the computers of Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Eastern Washington. The hackers operated from China to benefit the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security.
Exploiting Unpatched Vulnerabilities
The hackers were found exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in web server software, a web application to gain initial access to the victim’s network to place malicious web shells that allowed the hackers to remotely execute commands.
The hackers compressed the data into RAR format and before transferring it they changed the extension to .jpg (.rar to .jpg) to evade the detection.
The stolen data includes technology designs, manufacturing processes, test mechanisms and results, source code, and pharmaceutical chemical structures.
However, the hackers were unsuccessful in this regard due to the FBI and network defenders. Li and Dong were charged for identity theft, theft of trade secrets, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and violating anti-hacking laws with over a maximum 40 years in prison.
It’s Not the first time COVID-19 testing agencies were targeted
However, it’s not the first time that the Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 testing agencies were targeted and attacked. From months FBI has been trying to catch these hackers targeting COVID-19 testing agencies.
Iranian hackers were also found targeting COVID-19 research centres who are developing COIVD-19 vaccines.
In past there have many cases that hackers are also targeting people by sending fake covid-19 emails with malicious attachments.