“A senior cybersecurity official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Thursday that foreign government hackers have broken into companies conducting research into treatments for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.” (reuters.com, 2020) The FBI noticed that noted hackers have been snooping or poking around different healthcare and research institutions. With so many scientists and doctors seeking to find a cure, across so many countries, you can imagine that people are both hopeful and curious with regards to the timeframe it will take to accomplish this important research. However, what truly is the motivation behind a hacker lurking into this kind of research? As reported by the FBI Deputy Assistant interviewed on this matter, “we certainly have seen reconnaissance activity, and some intrusions, into some of those institutions, especially those that have publicly identified themselves as working on COVID-related research. And that it made sense for institutions working on promising treatments or a potential vaccine to tout their work publicly.” (reuters.com, 2020) The hackers that they have discovered to be conducting this sort of spying, are state-backed hackers, but the FBI would not detail specific countries or targeted organizations. The Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center had this to add, “Medical research organizations and those who work for them should be vigilant against threat actors seeking to steal intellectual property or other sensitive data related to America’s response to the COVID19 pandemic. Now is the time to protect the critical research you’re conducting.” (reuters.com, 2020) While most people have no window to view or track what hackers do on the dark web and depths of the internet, we can view how virtual discussions and ideals affect real-life actions on other platforms. For instance, a conspiracy theory conjured up on Facebook has caused people to take real-life, unsupported action. ZDNet reported that “It shouldn’t be surprising that some people eventually read so many conspiracy theories on social media that they decide to attack, possibly over 20 times, what they see as a great intrusion and potential killing machine — the machine in question goes by the name of 5G.” (zdnet.com, 2020) Apparently, there are in existence anti-5G groups on the social media platform Facebook. Within these groups, theorists are now contributing presumed effects of 5G towers going up as direct correlations to the spread of COVID-19. They believe this so much so, that they were convinced that they needed to bring down these towers. “A number of UK mobile towers were attacked by some of these conspiracy theorists in the past week. Putting the costs to repair these towers aside — they cost six figures each — there are flow-on effects to this damage, such as preventing people relying on that connection from being able to run a business or call emergency services.” (zdnet.com, 2020)
How it Could Affect You
Hackers stealing proprietary information, as it pertains to finding a cure for COVID-19, affects all Americans. These sorts of actions could result in holding the information for ransom or at auction to the highest bidder. This sort of greed could do further harm to the masses of infected patients, as it could delay them from receiving treatment once a cure is found. And the threat towards the 5G towers offers a more immediate potential impact on businesses and families. As most people who are working still during these times, are working from home – and because most cellular and even internet providers are trying to shift to 5G service – bringing down these towers can debilitate people’s abilities to work from home with a secure and strong connection.
Hodgson Can Help
Don’t allow fear, internet influence, or other things of uncertainty to drive into the minds of you and your employees. During these times, it’s best to stay well-informed and to keep your employees up to date on the state of the company. This is how you keep those elements from creeping into how you operate. Here at Hodgson Consulting & Solutions, we specialize in securing data and information loss prevention for companies with multiple locations and/or a remote workforce. We offer full solutions for your IT needs, not just Band-Aid fixes. Contact us to receive a FREE 17-Point Confidential Technology Security Consultation and also learn more about our Managed Security Service Plans. Contact our office today at 847-906-5005.