McCarthy introduces legislation to sanction foreign hackers trying to steal coronavirus research

The proposal was put forth the same day the DOJ indicted two Chinese hackers for targeting hundreds of businesses and institutions over the span of a decade

Updated: July 23, 2020 - 12:33pm

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has introduced legislation that attempt to impose stiff penalties on those who attempt to hack or otherwise steal U.S. research on a coronavirus cure.

The California Republican's Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act, put forth this week, would allow the president to impose sanctions on foreign individuals attempting to hack the United States in ways that compromise economic and national security or public health. 

The bill would also require the State Department, in consultation with the U.S. director of national intelligence, to send Congress a report on “the extent of known cyber-enabled activities or attempted cyber-enabled activities" surrounding the coronavirus. 

"We refuse to allow our innovation to be exploited by China, Russia, or any other hackers," McCarthy said. "We are going to protect the cure from falling into the wrong hands so that no one can use it as leverage for their own malicious ends. The stakes are too high for these significant cyber crimes to go unpunished. My legislation will hold these criminals accountable."