Coronavirus Disinformation Campaigns Accelerating, U.S. Intelligence Agencies Warn; Nearly 25K Emails, Passwords From NIH, WHO, Gates Foundation Dumped Online

New York Times: Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say
“…United States intelligence agencies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push [false and alarming] messages across platforms, according to six American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to publicly discuss intelligence matters. The amplification techniques are alarming to officials because the disinformation showed up as texts on many Americans’ cellphones, a tactic that several of the officials said they had not seen before. That has spurred agencies to look at new ways in which China, Russia, and other nations are using a range of platforms to spread disinformation during the pandemic, they said…” (Wong, 4/22).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Adversaries Are Accelerating, Coordinating Coronavirus Disinformation, Report Says
“The State Department has assessed that Russia, China, and Iran are mounting increasingly intense and coordinated disinformation campaigns against the U.S. relating to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, according to an internal report. All three countries are using state-controlled media, social media, and government agencies and officials to disseminate information to domestic audiences and global audiences alike that denigrates the U.S. and spreads false accounts, the State Department report says…” (Donati, 4/21).

Washington Post: Nearly 25,000 email addresses and passwords allegedly from NIH, WHO, Gates Foundation and others are dumped online
“Unknown activists have posted nearly 25,000 email addresses and passwords allegedly belonging to the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, the Gates Foundation and other groups working to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremism and terrorist groups. While SITE was unable to verify whether the email addresses and passwords were authentic, the group said the information was released Sunday and Monday and almost immediately used to foment attempts at hacking and harassment by far-right extremists. An Australian cybersecurity expert, Robert Potter, said he was able to verify that the WHO email addresses and passwords were real…” (Mekhennet/Timberg, 4/22).

Additional coverage of disinformation campaigns and email hacks is available from BBC, Fast Company, and New York Times.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.