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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Moderna and FBI Boston partner over cybersecurity threats


A pole riddled with security cameras and other surveillance equipment.

The Boston Headquarters of the FBI made a public statement on Oct. 6 regarding their partnership with Moderna, amid increasing cybersecurity threats. In the statement, the FBI announced they have engaged in a cybersecurity awareness campaign for the New England region. The campaign is designed to warn organizations of all types, such as government, academic and private sectors [1].

FBI Boston welcomes all organizations, regardless of size, to join their campaign to protect themselves from future cyber attacks. New England, and Boston in particular, is a target-rich environment for cyber attackers. According to FBI Boston, our region is home to renowned research and developments such as Fortune 500, defense contractors, company startups and university research, just like the research conducted at UMass Boston [1].

Moderna is one of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in the world, based in Cambridge. They are most known for their help in developing the COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna has also partnered with FBI Boston, in order to establish “the need for a strong, bilateral relationship in guarding against multi-faceted cyber criminal syndicates and nation state actors,” [1].

During the height of the manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccine, the FBI conducted “Operation Warp Speed.” This operation ensured the security and safety of vaccine information and the manufacturers. Due to the operation’s success, the FBI and Moderna have shared new tactics for businesses to utilize new safety tactics similar to “Operation Warp Speed” in weekly threat briefings [1].

While the new cybersecurity threats are alarming, these aren’t new to FBI special agents. Last year, the FBI reported that 15,000 residents in New England had been affected by cyber crimes. In that same year, $184 million were lost in New England alone, due to these crimes [2].

This resulted in an alarming 54 percent increase from the year prior to last year. The FBI had also reported that $184 million did not include costs of data breaches and leaks, lost productivity, loss of intellectual property, disruption to business and reputational harm to the victims [2].

FBI Boston has compiled a list of recent spikes in different types of cyber crimes. These include spikes in ransomware, critical infrastructure attacks, and supply chain attacks. A list of preventative measures that companies should follow was also provided. The list mentions monitoring security logs, developing a cybersecurity incident response plan that includes the FBI, and keeping up to date with FBI industry alerts on ic3.gov [1].

Only four weeks ago, Boston Children’s Hospital was targeted by cyber attackers sponsored by the Iranian government. According to FBI Director, Christopher Wray, in a statement to CBS News, the attackers sought to obtain information, encrypt networks and sell private data in exchange for ransoms. These are the exact attacks that the FBI is trying to prevent [4].

In an interview with WCVB 5 Investigates, Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta of FBI Boston stresses the importance of businesses establishing a relationship with the FBI. This makes responding to a cyber crises significantly easier, since the business and the FBI are already familiar with each other [3].

During several public service announcements, the Boston FBI has released a cyber security hotline available for business owners to use in the event they become a cyber attack victim [1].

It is strongly encouraged to call 875-386-2000 to get in touch with the FBI Boston cyber squad and report cyber compromises. There are also partnerships, called the Domestic Security Alliance Council and InfraGard, that involve critical infrastructure industries that businesses are encouraged to join [1].


  1. https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/boston/news/press-releases/fbi-boston-urges-cybersecurity-awareness-releases-public-service-announcement-with-moderna-encouraging-the-private-sector-to-partner-with-the-fbi

  2. https://www.wcvb.com/article/fbi-boston-call-for-cooperation-over-cybersecurity/41549305

  3. https://www.wcvb.com/article/fbi-business-cybersecurity-campaign-moderna-psa/41548146

  4. https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/boston-childrens-hospital-cyberattack-iran-indictments/

About the Contributor
Samantha Beady, News Editor