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Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are attempting to steal the coronavirus IP vaccine, in response to the previous cybersecurity chief

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Chris Krebs speaks to reporters from the DHS Election Operations Center and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on November 6, 2018.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The former head of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Sunday that opponents have attempted to steal intellectual property related to the coronavirus vaccine.

"With the big four, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, we've seen to some extent that all four countries are espionage or espionage and try to obtain intellectual property related to the vaccine," said Chris Krebs, former CISA Director on CBS "Face the Nation".

"What we'd been thinking through at CISA was not just the vaccine developers, but their entire supply chain trying to really look for those critical vulnerabilities," said Krebs.

"So it's not just about Moderna and some of the others who are developing the vaccine – it's about their supply chains, distribution channels and public health facilities," he said. "These are the people we need to keep providing cybersecurity support from the national security community and the private sector."

IBM released a report last week that published a global phishing campaign for the Covid-19 cold chain, part of the supply chain that keeps vaccines at low temperatures during storage and transportation. CISA encouraged organizations affiliated with Operation Warp Speed, the US vaccination program, to review the IBM report for possible indicators that may have compromised them.

Krebs, the former head of the KAG, was responsible for leading efforts to protect the US elections. He was fired by President Donald Trump in two tweets last month.

Trump said Krebs made a "highly inaccurate" statement on the security of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump, who has not yet conceded President-elect Joe Biden, claimed the election was fraught with "massive inadequacies and fraud." Twitter tagged the president's tweets with a warning that the election fraud allegation is controversial.

Krebs had previously said there was no evidence that the elections were compromised by foreign interference.

"It is time for the leaders of the national security community, the Republican Party, to stand up, accept the results, and move forward," said Krebs, a lifelong Republican.

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