WASHINGTON D.C. (WCMH) — The FBI is warning american healthcare companies to be on the lookout for hacking attempts made by China after national security leaders say China is trying to steal its way to making a COVID-19 vaccine.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien agrees with this week’s warning from FBI director Christopher Wray who said China wants to steal any information it can on COVID-19.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that’s what they’re doing,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien added this approach is nothing new for China. The FBI also warned about Chinese hacking attempts in May.
“The Chinese have been hacking and stealing intellectual property and technology from America for the last 40 to 50 years,” O’Brien said.
There are more than 400 vaccine and therapy programs under research and development worldwide with some at major U.S. companies.
O’Brien expects any of those could be a target for Chinese hackers.
“I have no doubt that there are Chinese companies and the Chinese Communist Party would love to hack our medical research,” he said.
The FBI wants healthcare companies to actively scan for unauthorized access and suspend access of employees or users who show unusual activity.
“The Chinese are always a malevolent player,” Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said.
Members of Congress, including Sen. Brown, have concerns beyond just protecting the country’s medical research.
“I’m concerned about the Chinese interfering in our elections the way the Russians did successfully last time,” Brown said.
In response to the FBI director’s warning, a Chinese embassy spokesman urged U.S. officials to “stop cooking up political lies day after day.”