Cyber criminals launched an attack against the research laboratories that are helping to understand the coronavirus. The hackers exploited a Secure Shell (SSH) connection, and deployed cryptocurrency-mining malware once logged into the systems. More than a dozen supercomputers in the U.K, Switzerland and Germany were affected.

A laboratory employee believes that “…the attackers wanted to either gather intellectual property or just slow down efforts to battle Covid.”

In mid-May, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security warned US-based scientific researchers of potential cyber attacks. Threat actors targeting US labs have attempted to obtain intellectual property, coronavirus vaccine related information, treatment related information and testing related information. “The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options” stated the FBI.

The IT and security challenges that these research labs face are multifaceted, particularly given the fact that many academic researchers are now working from home.

One set of cyber security experts recommend that labs establish a baseline for internal network traffic, observing whether or not any deviations pop up. In the event of deviations, identify and investigate them.

For more info on how labs can improve their security, and for more on this story, visit Bankinfosecurity.com.