The new coronavirus vaccine supply chain has been targeted by cyber-espionage, reported IBM. Indeed, the company declared that it was discovered after a security team tracked a campaign aiming at the delivery ‘cold chain’, used to keep vaccines at the right temperature during transportation.
Although the cyber attackers are still unknown, their methods were sophisticated, indicating a nation-state.
One of the methods used is phishing emails, which were sent out across six countries in September 2020 targeting organizations linked to the Cold Chain Equipment Optimisation Platform (CCEOP) of Gavi, the international vaccine alliance. These organizations strive to deliver vaccines around the world, and especially to the poorest countries.
By impersonating a business executive involved in CCEOP’s supply cold chain, the cyber attackers would send phishing emails to organizations in charge of transportation. The email in question would then contain malicious code and ask for people’s login credentials. With this, they would have access to the infrastructure the government is using to distribute the vaccines.
This kind of attack could put at risk people’s life as well as have serious impacts on the global economy.
The company IBM has notified organizations that could be targeted as well as law-enforcement authorities.
The US’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa) has put out an alert, encouraging organizations involved with the storage and transport of a vaccine to be on alert for the kind of attacks. Similarly, in July, the UK warned that Russian intelligence had targeted UK vaccine research.
Yet, officials have stated that the activity has been more about intelligence gathering rather than disruption of any research so far.