It’s a controversial subject—the use of CT scans to diagnose coronavirus—but it’s an emerging field. And while the likes of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Radiology have cautioned against it, one Chinese medical company has harnessed Intel’s technology and Huawei’s marketing channels to push its solutions into frontline hospitals.
The Huizhou-based company in question, Huiying Medical, has said that the deployment of such technology might widen the availability of COVID-19 testing, especially in areas without access to the latest techniques and technology. It is reported to be field-testing the tech across 20 hospitals in China, after honing its AI algorithms from the study of several thousand confirmed cases. The company says its AI scanning can now correctly diagnose COVID-19 with 96% accuracy.
“As the world is combating the coronavirus pandemic,” Intel said last month, “it is critical for AI technology companies to join forces with the healthcare industry to defeat this disease as quickly as possible… The Intel AI Builders Program salutes and supports our partner Huiying Medical’s efforts in confronting the challenge with innovation and collaboration.”
Unsurprising, then, that Huiying Medical has reportedly found itself targeted by hackers. As with everything related to the virus, whether it’s the distribution of stimulus funds or providing the latest information on infections, cyber criminals have pivoted their activity to focus on the global pandemic.
Cyber researchers at Cyble now report that a threat actor they describe as “credible,” has gained access to the medical company’s “COVID-19 detection technology source code and COVID-19 experimental data.” Huiying Medical has not yet responded to a request for comment from the day before publishing.
According to Cyble, the threat actor “THE0TIME” is selling the data for 4 BTC, around $30,000. That data is said to include user information, technology source code, and reports on experiments.
Cyble told me that its research team “reviewed the exclusive and non-public samples and verified the claim that way.” The team showed me company confidential images from the breached data, which they are not making public.
The technology is highly-prized, selling for as much as $50,000 per hospital per month to expedite diagnoses. The medical company says in its marketing that “China has nearly two months of data and experience accumulation in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. We are hoping that we could offer some effort in the prevention, control of the epidemic by using [an] AI application.”
As such, if this breach is confirmed it will provide that technology to other players in the field and will also allow scientists outside China to review a wealth of source data from closer to the root of the pandemic.
Cyble is a credible source for data breaches that find their way into dark web sales. A week ago I covered their report into the sale of 267 million Facebook user profiles for just $540, confirmed by Facebook. And they have also just reported on a data firm’s loss of one million employee profiles for some of the world’s largest firms—again, now available for purchase on the dark web.
I will update this article as more information on this becomes available and with any comment received from Huiying Medical.
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