Senators Wrote CISA and FBI Regarding the Risks to COVID-19 Research Data

Four Senators wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) because of the latest notification telling COVID-19 research organizations that hackers associated with China are doing attacks to obtain access to COVID-19 vaccine and research information.

On May 13, 2020, CISA and the FBI released a joint alert cautioning companies in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and research industries that they are primary targets for cybercriminals. Hacking gangs associated with the People’s Republic of China have been trying to gain access to the networks of U.S. organizations to get the intellectual property, public health information, and data associated with COVID-19 evaluation, prospective vaccines, and treatment facts.

China’s attempts to target these fields present a considerable threat to the COVID-19 response of our nation. The possible theft of this data jeopardizes the provision of secure, reliable, and efficient treatment choices.

In the letter, John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Thom Tills (R-NC), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recognized the initiatives of both agencies to increase awareness of the danger and check out the attacks. It is totally inappropriate for the Chinese government associated hackers to try to steal or interrupt critical research from organizations and institutions that are creating needed diagnostics, remedies, and treatments.

The Senators reiterated the guidance provided by both agencies and have encouraged all American businesses and academic bodies engaged in the COVID-19 response to make the most of the assets recommended by the agencies to enhance their cybersecurity defenses and to furthermore make sure to tell the FBI immediately about any attempted attacks.

The Senators mentioned that they stand prepared and eager to aid both agencies in their work to handle the threat and stop the theft of intellectual property from American businesses, and have inquired how they can best help both agencies.

The Senators asked what other statutory tools or authorities the agencies must have to overcome the state-sponsored hacking of American organizations more efficiently, and what additional financial means and appropriations are necessary to enable the agencies to look into further attempts of state-sponsored cyber-terrorist to obtain sensitive research information.

The Senators have additionally asked for details on the steps both agencies are doing to tell U.S. businesses and research agencies regarding the risk of attack, and how the two agencies are aiding businesses and research organizations to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses and prevent further intrusions and theft of data.

The Senators want answers to the queries in a classified briefing with their personnel until June 20, 2020.

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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