The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi says it is “appalled by reports of a cyberattack carried out on September 1 against the computer system of the Georgian Ministry of Health”, which resulted in several documents being stolen from the country’s Lugar Lab.
The irresponsible attack attempted to illegally access pandemic management information stored in the databases of the ministry and its units, including those of the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research,” says the embassy.
The United States condemns this reckless, dangerous cyberattack. The security of cyberspace depends on the responsible behavior of nations,” the embassy statement reads.
The embassy further noted that the Lugar Lab has played a ‘vital role’ in Georgia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The security of cyberspace depends on the responsible behavior of nations. We, together with like-minded members of the international community, will abide by our commitment to an international framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. We call on those acting outside of that framework to do so as well and to stop their malicious activities immediately,” says the US Embassy.
The information stolen pertained to the country’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.
Part of the authentic documentation obtained as a result of illegal access into the computer system has been uploaded on a foreign website and is available to the public. However, the website has also uploaded obviously falsified documents, which are deliberately falsified in order to intimidate and confuse the public,” said the Ministry of Internal Affairs yesterday.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that the cyber attack was carried out by a foreign special service.
The ministry said yesterday that it would appeal to the partner countries for assistance in the rapid and effective investigation of the crime.
Lugar Lab is a permanent target of disinformation and fake news spread by Russia, which has claimed on numerous occasions that the US is funding 'dangerous experiments’ in the centre.
Georgia has denied the Russian accusations and expressed willingness to receive Russian experts in the centre, noting that the centre has nothing to hide.
The Lugar Centre, officially called the Center for Public Health Research, is located in Tbilisi and named after former American Senator Richard Lugar.
It became operational in 2013. The centre is part of Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), under the Georgian Health Ministry.
The construction of the centre was launched in 2004 based on agreements signed between Georgia and US in 1997 and 2002.