The US Department of Justice has charged two individuals with stealing trade secrets in connection with the hacking of COVID-19 vaccine developers and others, the Verge reports.
According to the Washington Post, the indictment alleges that the pair — Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi — have been active hackers for about a decade and have worked on behalf of both themselves and the Chinese Ministry of State Security. The Post adds that Li and Dong have allegedly begun to target biotech and other companies working on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests. The Verge notes that the indictment also alleges the pair stole military satellite program and military communications systems information as well as information on dissidents.
It adds that they are charged with identity theft, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and violating anti-hacking laws, but are unlikely to be arrested or tried in the US. China, the Post reports typically denies "it conducts or sponsors hacks of foreign networks."
Last week, US, UK, and Canadian intelligence agencies warned that Russian hackers were also targeting coronavirus vaccine research.