- Right-wing activists got hold of a leaked list of more than 20,000 email and password credentials thought to belong to key frontline coronavirus organisations including the World Health Organisation, the Gates Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.
- That’s according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which said the information was circulated among far-right extremists on Sunday and Monday. The group described it as an attempt to “weaponize the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- It’s unclear who obtained and published the information, though SITE said it appeared to have surfaced on the 4chan message board before being republished elsewhere.
- SITE said it could not verify whether the information was authentic.
- WHO said it ran precautionary tests on active WHO email addresses that were exposed and found that none had been compromised.
- The Gates Foundation, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Bank – also said to have been targeted – did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment. The NIH declined to comment on the matter for cybersecurity reasons.
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Right-wing activists have got hold of a list of more than 20,000 leaked email addresses and passwords thought to belong to the World Health Organisation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Gates Foundation, among other organisations, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
SITE, which tracks the online activity of white-supremacist and jihadist groups, said the information circulated online on Sunday and Monday. It said it hadn’t verified whether the credentials are genuine.
We first saw the news via The Washington Post.
The Gates Foundation, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Bank – also said to have been targeted – did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment. The NIH said it would not comment on the matter, “as such information could be used to undertake malicious activities.”
In a statement sent to Business Insider, WHO said it ran precautionary tests on active WHO email addresses that were exposed and found that none had been compromised.
It’s unclear who obtained and published the information, though SITE told Business Insider it appeared to have first surfaced on the 4chan message board before being republished on various sites including Twitter and on far-right channels on the messaging app Telegram.
Rita Katz, SITE’s executive director, said that “neo-Nazis and white supremacists” published the information “aggressively” across various online platforms, using it to call for “a harassment campaign while sharing conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The distribution of these alleged email credentials were just another part of a months-long initiative across the far right to weaponize the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind the targets of these lists: NIH, CDC, WHO – these are exactly the types of organisations Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have been targeting amid the crisis,” she added.
1) BREAKING: Prominent Neo-Nazis group disseminating allegedly "hacked" emails from @gatesfoundation & @WHO, two partner orgs at front of #coronavirus fight. Data posted first to chan board & pasting site. @siteintelgroup/@SITE_CYBER currently investigating. [THREAD] pic.twitter.com/W13bKLC01u
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) April 21, 2020
Another noteworthy group said to have been targeted is the Wuhan Institute of Virology, based in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic originated.
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