Advisory: ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub linked to intellectual property theft and other malicious activity

Summary

The UBC Cybersecurity has learned of “open science” site Sci-Hub being tied to malicious activity and intellectual property theft. UBC community and researchers are advised to be vigilant and screen for phishing emails, and avoid any contact with this site.

A warning has been issued by the British law enforcement agencies (see references) which calls for the site to be blocked by universities.

IT departments are advised to block the website on their network in order to mitigate the security risk.

 

Sci-Hub details

Sci-Hub is a self-proclaimed “pirate website” that offers “mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers”. But the site does not have permission to host or offer access to those papers, which is why it has in the past been shuttered by US courts for copyright breaches. The site has also been tied to Russian intelligence services.

The site justifies its activities by claiming that paid access to research “effectively slow down the development of science in human society.”

The City of London Police warns the site “obtains the papers through a variety of malicious means, such as the use of phishing emails to trick university staff and students into divulging their login credentials. Sci-Hub then use this to compromise the university’s network and download the research papers.” The warning also mentions the possibility of malware infections following interactions with Sci-Hub.

IT departments are advised to block the website on their network in order to mitigate the security risk.

 

References:

Original Article: https://www.theregister.com/2021/03/22/city_of_london_police_sci_hub_warning/

British Law Enforcement Warning: https://www.cityoflondon.police.uk/news/city-of-london/news/2021/march/police-warn-students-and-universities-of-accessing-an-illegal-website-to-download-published-scientific-papers/

Sci-Hub Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub