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“Authoritarian states” engaging in campaign to disrupt Canada’s supply chains, steal research: report

The report refers to the perpetrators only as “authoritarian states."

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) has released a damning report suggesting that foreign entities are seeking to disrupt Canada’s domestic supply chains and steal valuable coronavirus research. 

The report refers to the perpetrators only as “authoritarian states” according to Global News

“Ransomware attacks against health-care providers, research facilities, and medical manufacturers will have negative consequences on patient care and hinder the development and production of Canadian medical research and domestic supply chains,” claims the report. 

“State-sponsored cyber threat actors are increasingly targeting the health sector, including government health agencies, almost certainly to obtain intellectual property and other sensitive data pertaining to COVID-19 medical research.”

The agency also discovered 120,000 different coronavirus domains meant to spoof legitimate websites for malicious purposes. 

Of these webpages over 1,500 of them were made to look like official Government of Canada coronavirus hubs. They have since been taken down. 

In a prior statement, the CSE identified malicious cyber actors as being directed by the People’s Republic of China to “access to multiple client systems and large amounts of sensitive data, leading to loss of proprietary information, disruption to business operations, financial loss.”

The report also lays out several examples where research facilities or companies were targeted by foreign actors for the purpose of stealing their advancements. 

“In early-April 2020, individuals associated with a Canadian university engaged in COVID-19 research and a Canadian provincial government health agency were targeted by COVID-19-themed phishing attacks attempting to deliver ransomware,” writes the report. 

Universities have especially been targeted by malicious cyber activity. Earlier this month, York University reported that it had fallen victim to a ransomware attack shortly after announcing a $250,000 coronavirus research fund.  

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