Hacking Apr 29, 2020

Chinese-Based COVID-19 Research Firm Hacked and the Data Posted on the Dark Web

A Beijing-based medical firm has lost critical COVID-19 research data that…

A Chinese medical research organization has joined the list of firms targeted by hacking attacks amid the raging coronavirus pandemic. Huiying Medical, the medical research firm that was working on COVID-19 research, suffered a cyber-attack that led to the loss of critical data that may ultimately cost the organization dearly.

Reportedly, the stolen data was posted on the dark web for sale. As such, researchers from the cyber intelligence company Cyble discovered a dark web listing, which was posted by a user by the moniker THEOTIME who advertised the Huiying data dump for 4 Bitcoins (the equivalent of $31, 000).

Investigators managed to get a hold of the data pack for analysis, in which they traced the data to the medical firm’s data breach. In terms of size, the total size of the dump stands at over 1.15GB, and it includes user data, source code and reports of experimental trials done by the firm.

The Technology

The medical technology that was affected by the data breach is a novel technique established to detect COVID-19 infections through the application of CT chest scans. Huiying Medical has incorporated Huawei and Intel technology to create a diagnosis and scanning system, which is reported to be very effective.

The scanned data obtained through the system is uploaded on the cloud before it is subjected to an analytical process, which is executed through advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can discover the existence of any suspect nodules within a patient’s lungs.

According to Huiying Medical, the system developed by the research body boasts of an AI accuracy of about 96%, and the firm is supplying health institutions with the service at a $50,000 monthly charge.

The “Golden Egg Goose” is on Sale on the Dark Web

The value of the stolen data can be judged based on Huiying Medical’s marketing, which claims that the AI algorithm was created against a foreground of more than 4,000 confirmed COVID-19 CT studies. The firm also states that the technology has been supplied to 20 health institutions in China, including a host of hospitals across the world.

At this point, the Beijing-based firm is in a tight fix, as the company’s potential cash cow is currently up for sale in the dark web, and health institutions will soon acquire the technology for a relatively cheap price.

This is a critical example about the ramifications of cybersecurity in the corporate world, and just how much damage hacking campaigns can cause. Actually, Huiying Medical has been targeted by hackers severally since the COVID-19 pandemic grew into the current global crisis although the firm had managed to stay above water amid the attacks.




To understand the impact of this data breach, we ought to approach the subject from two angles. First, the data leak has automatically led to the invasion of client’s privacy considering that Huiying Medical’s data was breached and posted on the dark web for sale.

Second, the possibility of piracy is bound to occur as far as the company’s proprietary information is concerned. A skilled cyber professional who gets their hands on the leaked source code and other bits of technical information may use the resources to create a similar system from scratch. If this happens, the firm will suffer significant economic loss as a result.

Conclusion – A Pandemic That Fuels Cybercrime

The recent case of hacker attack amid the coronavirus pandemic comes as no surprise. A host of experts have observed an increase of hacking campaigns as countries continue to grapple with ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis.

Consider the fact that coronavirus phishing scams started spreading as early as January, then you will realize that the current global conditions provide an ideal medium for cyberattacks of all nature.

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