The US recently claimed that two Chinese hackers that work from Beijing tried to steal data that also included coronavirus research.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department released the statement the two hackers were helped by China’s Ministry of State Security. The Justice Department identified the two hackers as Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi. It further said that along with medical research, defence contractors and weapon systems were also hacked.
This accusation has increased the ongoing tension between the US and China amid the pandemic.
On Tuesday, John Demers, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said at a press conference “China is providing a safe haven” for hackers working for personal profit and the state’s interests. He further said that Cyber interventions are part of the country’s “rob, replicate and replace strategy to technological development.”
However, he did not specify if there was any successful theft by hackers.
The indictment specifically does not mention the targeted companies or institutions. However, it does provide information like the location and the timings when the attack took place.
Moreover, on Wednesday in Beijing at a briefing, the Chinese Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin claimed the accusations as false.
As per the Justice Department, hackers are targetting companies that are based in Germany, Japan, the US, Australia, the Netherlands, SK, Sweden, Spain, Lithuania, and the UK.
“The indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to steal trade secrets from at least eight known victims, which consisted of technology designs, manufacturing processes, test mechanisms and results, source code, and pharmaceutical chemical structures,” according to the statement.
The Justice Department said that such information would provide a market edge.
The FBI had previously warned that Chinese hackers were targeting Covid-19 research organizations in an effort to obtain data related to vaccines, treatments and testing.
Previously this week, the US, Canada, and the UK’s cybersecurity agencies accused a hacker group of Russia trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research data.
Known as APT29 or Cozy Bear, it had developed malware and exploited known security vulnerabilities to break into computers used by organizations working on the vaccine, according to the agencies. Russia has rejected those accusations.