U.S. Concerns of COVID-19 Research Theft

In the midst of the global pandemic, researchers across the globe are working together to develop treatments and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).  The U.S. government has expressed concern over theft of technology related to COVID-19 and is urging U.S. institutions to safeguard their research in order to prevent future economic loss.

During the ongoing national health emergency, the FBI encourages research institutions and investigators to remain vigilant for any attempts by organizations or individuals, whether foreign or domestic, to unlawfully obtain and or remove sensitive research, including but not limited to research related to COVID-19, and including that funded by the US Government. The FBI also encourages these same entities to proactively review existing safeguards, including Cyber security, in order to ensure this research remains protected. For further guidance or to report any unusual or suspicious activity associated with research security, please contact your appropriate security representative or the FBI’s Columbus Resident Agency, (614) 224-1183, Ohio State’s Office of Secure Research exportcontrol@osu.edu, (614) 292-9648, or Office of University Compliance and Integrity compliance-integrity@osu.edu, https://compliance.osu.edu/concern-reporting.html

“We are imploring all those research facilities and hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that are doing really great research to do everything in their power to protect it,” Bill Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in an interview with NPR.

“We don’t want that company or the research hospital to be the one a year from now, two years from now, identified as having it all stolen before they finished it,” said Evanina, whose center falls under the director of national intelligence.

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