Cybercriminals are targeting research labs working on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Three research firms have recently experienced data breaches, including the Wuhan lab at the epicenter of the pandemic.
Hackers attacked the Wuhan Institute of Virology to gain access to employee email credentials. The credentials have been leaked online. The Wuhan Institute of Virology attack also is significant because the Chinese research lab has been in the middle of a conspiracy theory as the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
The biotech research firm 10X Genomics also was the target of a recent hack. The California-based lab is working on potential coronavirus treatments. The firm faced an attempted ransomware attack through two email security hacks. The firm was able to isolate the attack, but not before data was stolen and posted online. Lab officials said they expect the data breach to have little effect on their day-to-day operations.
The 10X Genomics attack comes after a successful hack of the U.K.-based Hammersmith Medicines Research. The Maze ransomware hacking group was able to access sensitive data and published the information online. Hammersmith Medicines Research is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The data breach leaked volunteers’ records, including their names; dates of births; passport information; insurance card information; visa documents; and screening results.