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FBI’s Tonya Ugoretz: COVID-19 Researchers Targeted by Foreign Hackers

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Tonya Ugoretz, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, said at an online panel discussion that  nation-state hackers have targeted U.S. medical research institutions that are studying COVID-19 and developing vaccines against the novel coronavirus, CyberScoop reported Thursday.

She told participants during the Aspen Institute-hosted virtual event Thursday the bureau has traced reconnaissance activity and cyber intrusion into organizations that have publicly disclosed R&D efforts related to the novel coronavirus.

“Countries have a very high desire for information … about how other countries are responding — about things like research on vaccines, what’s happening in the U.S. healthcare sector in our research institutes,” Ugoretz noted, according to the publication.

Hackers targeted the Department of Health and Human Services last month in a disinformation campaign that apparently sought to disrupt COVID-19 response.

Ugoretz noted that the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center receive 3K to 4K reports daily via the IC3 website.