Following conspiracy theories widespread among far-right communities claiming that Microsoft founder Bill Gates designed the coronavirus pandemic to sell vaccines to the world and US President Donald Trump asserting that the World Health Organization (WHO) sided with China during the outbreak, both have become targets online.
A list of thousands of email addresses and passwords belonging to the staff of the Gates Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a virology center based in Wuhan, China, has been shared recently among neo-Nazi extremists, according to a report by Motherboard.
It was not immediately clear whether the organizations were hacked or the passwords for employee accounts were accurate/current.
A majority of the login credentials on the database were likely to have been collected from previously hacked information of various other online platforms.
Bill Gates has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as supporting stay-at-home orders and developing vaccines.
Last month, he publicly commented that the US failed to act fast enough to avoid the shutdown and take the COVID-19 outbreak under control.
He also criticized Trump’s move to cut funds for the WHO, calling it “as dangerous as it sounds” in a tweet last week.
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
Conspiracy theorists combined Gates’ public interest in the pandemic with a 2015 speech, where he mentioned a possible virus-related disease that could be a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear war in the future.
A video of the now-infamous speech has resurfaced on YouTube, gaining massive attention from far-right groups, including anti-vaccinators, who claim that Gates was behind the spread of the coronavirus and looking to profit from a vaccine all around the world.