FOREIGN ESPIONAGE CONCERNS
Christopher Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, said this week that he expects to see “every intelligence service” attempt to target and steal COVID-19 research and data.
“We do expect every intelligence service to be in the mix here,” Krebs, who serves as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said on an episode of CBS’s “Intelligence Matters” podcast released Wednesday.
“The Chinese have obviously been one of the more brazen in terms of their approach, but others are in the game, too,” Krebs said. “This is a very active space, very active space.”
CISA and the FBI issued a joint warning last month that Chinese-backed hackers were targeting U.S. organizations working to develop vaccines and other treatments for COVID-19. The agencies noted that theft of this data and research could “jeopardize the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options.”
Hospitals and major agencies including the World Health Organization and the Department of Health and Human Services have been among the major targets of attackers. CISA joined the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre last month in issuing a separate alert around hackers targeting healthcare providers.
Krebs said on the podcast, which was recorded last week, that the attacks were “destructive.”
“You’re seeing a situation where a hospital could be impacted and their network’s offline, they can’t conduct clinical operations,” Krebs said. “It’s not as easy as just transferring those patients to another hospital in this environment. You never know what you’re transferring and indeed if you have anything you can transfer to. So we’re absolutely seeing destructive attacks across the border right now.”