Chinese covid hacking

The U.S. Justice Department has accused two Chinese hackers of conducting a massive campaign of intellectual property theft, including Covid-19 vaccine research.

In the indictment filed in early July and unsealed earlier this week, the Justice Department accused Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi of stealing terabytes of research and data over the last several years. Their targets allegedly included high tech companies based in the United States, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and other countries on behalf of the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security as well as for personal enrichment.

“More recently, they researched vulnerabilities in the networks of biotech and other firms publicly known for work on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and testing technology,” stated the indictment.

Li and Dong allegedly “exploited vulnerabilities in commonly used web server software, web application development suites, and software collaboration programs” as a means of gaining access to victim networks and data.

The two men are believed to be in China and are unlikely to be extradited to the United States to face charges.