Microsoft Detects COVID-19 Vaccine cyber attacks by Russia, North Korea hackers

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Microsoft has not revealed the name of the targets. But it has revealed that all these companies are either involved in vaccine trial or developing a Covid-19 test etc. Chinese state-backed hackers have also been targeting vaccine-makers, the US government said in July while announcing criminal charges. Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers.

The hackers used various methods to carry out the attacks, according to the blog post, including brute force login attempts to steal login credentials, as well as spear-phishing attacks where the hackers posed as recruiters seeking job candidates, and as representatives of the World Health Organization. Optimism about a COVID-19 vaccine has grown since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced earlier this week that preliminary data showed its vaccine to be 90 percent effective.

Microsoft is calling on the world’s leaders to affirm that international law protects health care facilities and to take action to enforce the law,” Burt said. “We believe the law should be enforced not just when attacks originate from government agencies but also when they originate from criminal groups that governments enable to operate — or even facilitate — within their borders.

“Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials,” according to the blog post by Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president of customer security and trust. Microsoft didn’t name the companies, or provide details about what information may have been stolen or compromised, but said it had notified the organizations and offered help where the attacks were successful.

It’s disturbing that these challenges have now merged as cyberattacks are being used to disrupt health care organizations fighting the pandemic,” Burt wrote. “We think these attacks are unconscionable and should be condemned by all civilized society. Chinese state-backed hackers have also been targeting vaccine-makers, the US government said in July while announcing criminal charges. According to Microsoft, the majority of the attacks were blocked by its security protections.