Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Warning to Protect Research

The US has issued a warning to research firms working on a coronavirus vaccine that hackers may be targeting them, NPR reports.

A joint advisory from the UK's National Cyber Security Center and the US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warns that certain groups are targeting medical research organizations, healthcare organizations, academic groups, and others that are working on national and international responses to COVID-19. " [Advanced Persistent Threat] groups frequently target such organizations in order to steal sensitive research data and intellectual property (IP) for commercial and state benefit," the advisory notes.

NPR notes that while the advisory didn't call out any specific group, it says that Iranian hackers are suspected of targeting Gilead Sciences, which makes remdesivir, though Iran denies the claim. Additionally, it adds that US officials have been concerned for the past few years about efforts by China to obtain intellectual property, including medical research, from the US. 

The New York Times adds that even allies seem to be trying to gather information on each other. "This is a global pandemic, but unfortunately countries are not treating it as a global problem," Justin Fier from the cybersecurity firm Darktrace tells the Times. "Everyone is conducting widespread intelligence gathering — on pharmaceutical research, PPE orders, response — to see who is making progress."

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.