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‘Foreign special service’ hacks Lugar Lab and Georgian Health Ministry

3 September 2020
The Lugar Laboratory in Tbilisi. Photo: National Center for Disease Control.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia reports that ‘special services from abroad’ hacked the database of the Ministry of Health and the Lugar laboratory, posting the information they obtained on an unspecified ‘foreign website’. 

The  Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) reported today that on Tuesday, according to preliminary data, ‘the special service of a foreign country’ hacked into the computer systems of the Ministry of Health and the Lugar Laboratory obtaining medical documentation and ‘important information related to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic’.

While the Ministry never specified the country suspected to be responsible, Irakli Sesiashvili, who chairs parliament's Military and Security Committee, stated there was a 'high probability' Russia was behind the hack. 

The Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center, run by the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, focuses on the detection and identification of viral diseases.

The Centre which receives funding from the United States has been the subject of a torrent of conspiracy theories, including the unsubstantiated accusation from Russian officials and media that it is engaged in developing biological weapons. 

Apart from the data of the Georgian Ministry of Health and the Lugar Laboratory, the website which published the information obtained from the hack also contains ‘falsified documents’, which, according to the Georgian MIA, ‘are intentionally forged in order to intimidate society, and instil confusion and distrust’.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs writes that the investigation into the hack is ongoing and that the ministry plans to turn to Georgia’s ‘partner countries’ for assistance.

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