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Dublin: 24 °C Tuesday 2 June, 2020

US claims Chinese hackers have tried to steal information about Covid-19 vaccines

The warning has added to the battle between the US and China over the outbreak.

Image: Shutterstock/PhotobyTawat

US AUTHORITIES HAVE claimed that Chinese hackers are attempting to steal data on Covid-19 treatments and vaccines.

The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said that groups researching the coronavirus were at risk of “targeting and network compromise” by China.

The two agencies warned that groups affiliated with the Chinese government and others were attempting to obtain intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing.

“China’s efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nation’s response to Covid-19,” they said.

However, the two groups gave no examples to support the allegation.

But the warning added to the battle between the US and China over the outbreak that began in the latter late last year and has killed at least 293,000 worldwide, including more than 83,000 in the United States.

President Donald Trump has accused China of hiding the origins of the virus and not cooperating in efforts to research and fight the disease.

Asked on Monday about reports that the US believed Chinese hackers were targeting US vaccine research, Trump replied: “What else is new with China?… I’m not happy.”

Yesterday’s warning also underscored that Washington believes China has continued broad efforts to obtain US commercial and technology secrets under President Xi Jinping’s drive to make his country a technological leader.

Beijing has repeatedly denied the US accusations.

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The FBI warning comes as dozens of companies, institutes and countries around the world are racing to develop vaccines for the coronavirus.

Many more groups are researching treatments for infected patients. Currently there is no proven therapy.

An effective vaccine could allow countries to reopen and potentially earn billions for its creators.

Most experts believe it will take more than a year to get a vaccine fully approved, and much longer to produce enough of it.

- © AFP 2020

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