GOP Lawmakers Demand FBI Briefing on Chinese Hacking of U.S. Coronavirus Research

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Republican lawmakers are demanding the FBI and other federal officials provide them with information about recent disclosures that China hacked U.S. coronavirus research.

A group of lawmakers on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee wrote to leaders of the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) asking them to provide details about China's efforts to steal American health data and intellectual property belonging to U.S. organizations currently conducting research on the coronavirus.

"Taking into consideration the vital research these U.S. institutions are conducting in order to develop vaccines and treatments for the novel coronavirus that is devastating the entire world, such malicious targeting is reprehensible," wrote the lawmakers, including Reps. Brian Babin (R., Texas), Ralph Norman (R., S.C.), Jim Baird (R., Ind.), Bill Posey (R., Fla.), among others.

The FBI warned earlier this month that China was targeting U.S. research institutes for cyber attacks and urged them to maintain dedicated cybersecurity to prevent hacks.

The notice further disclosed that "these actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research. The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options."

CISA estimates that China steals up to $400 billion worth of U.S. intellectual property each year.