Senators Proposed $53 Million Cash Support to Improve Cybersecurity and Secure COVID-19 Research Data

A significant amount of proof shows that nation-state hacking groups are concentrating on attacking institutions engaged in COVID-19 study and vaccine development to steal data for the research programs in their own countries.

In the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, security organizations have recently warned that state-sponsored hacking organizations related to Iran, China, and Russia are initiating attacks to steal COVID-19 research data. Early in August, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted two Chinese individuals who hacked U.S. agencies’ networks for 10 years, the latest of which involved COVID-19 vaccine research data.

CISA Director Christopher Krebs said that organizations working on vaccines are prone to attack since the pandemic has increased on their hardware, software program, and services attributable to teleworking. The recent BitSight study on biomedical corporations revealed that hackers could exploit many unaddressed vulnerabilities to get access to systems and confidential research data.

To deal with the hackers, Republican Senators made a proposal to inject a $53 million cash for the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to help support vulnerabilities remediation efforts and boost Federal network security to protect agencies active in the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development. The Senate Committee on Appropriations presented the COVID-19 relief law last week. The fund proposal is in addition to the $9.1 million given to CISA via the CARES Act economic stimulus package of President Trump.

The new relief that is going to be given is a total of $306 billion, with a sizeable proportion of the support going to the quickening of testing and vaccine development in time for the earliest school reopening.

The Department of Energy Office of Science recommended a $307.3 million cash assistance for the COVID-19 study and vaccine development and enhanced IT and cybersecurity. Another $16 billion support is to be given for state testing, contact tracing, and supervising.

Some Democrat Senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner, (D-VA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have written to Senate and Concessional leaders about supporting also the privacy protection of health data gotten from COVID-19 research. Not having appropriate privacy protections might result in the difficulty of getting many Americans to work with contact tracers and aid efforts to accumulate vital records hence slowing down the battle against COVID-19. The Senators shared a survey in their letter that says 84% of Americans worry about the health information compiled by the government.

The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act recommended in May adding privacy protections to sustain public confidence in testing and contact tracing work. The Democrat Senators wanted to add those privacy protections in their COVID-19 relief law proposal. Guaranteeing to the Americans that there will be no misuse of their sensitive health data will boost the people’s confidence while taking part in COVID screening projects, thus realizing the common goal of restraining and eradicating COVID-19.

About Christine Garcia 1297 Articles
Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA