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Coronavirus

China-backed hackers targeted Moderna's COVID vaccine: report

US biotech firm's network allegedly probed by 'reconnaissance' activity

U.S.-based Moderna Therapeutics is trying to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Chinese government-linked hackers targeted biotech company Moderna Inc, a leading U.S.-based coronavirus vaccine research developer, earlier this year in a bid to steal valuable data, according to a U.S. security official tracking Chinese hacking activity.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department made public an indictment of two Chinese nationals accused of spying on the United States, including three unnamed U.S.-based targets involved in medical research to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The indictment states the Chinese hackers "conducted reconnaissance" against the computer network of a Massachusetts biotech firm known to be working on a coronavirus vaccine in January.

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