The last few weeks have seen reports about multiple vaccines being developed and tested in a bid to take the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to the next level. Countries like the U.S and the U.K are currently having patients tested with some of the vaccines proving to be up to 90% effective which is totally a big step in a year that has been pretty much the worst. But it seems like hackers already have something up their sleeves to disrupt this progress.
Multinational tech consulting company, IBM, has warned that hackers are out trying to steal trade secrets and disrupt supply chains of the vaccine. The firm reported this after uncovering a series of attacks, potentially carried out by state actors. These attacks were performed against companies involved in the efforts to distribute vaccine doses to various countries around the world for further testing.
According to IBM, one of the major targets was the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union that holds the vaccine’s shipping records.
The online intruders carefully constructed booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese firm that specializes in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.
The attackers had already researched every detail about the vaccine to make the messages seem authentic. This includes the correct make, model and price of various refrigeration units. The emails were then sent to the major target in an effort to have the personnel click links that would help the hackers spy on their computers and phish out data.
In a blog post reporting this, IBM X-Force, the cybersecurity team working on this said, “Our team recently uncovered a global phishing campaign targeting organizations associated with a COVID-19 cold chain.”
IBM’s analyst Claire Zaboeva, reveals that the hackers had gone through “an exceptional amount of effort”.
It is scary to imagine that anyone would be as evil as to disrupt the distribution of the one thing that is meant to make all this go away. But then again, there has been lost of speculation that whoever holds the rights to the best vaccine could potentially hold power around the globe and probably too much power. So, it is possible to see why some malicious people would want it to themselves.
The report from IBM comes weeks after others came out stating efforts by Russia and North Korea to collect details about the COVID-19vaccines being tested in the U.S.