COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Companies Are Facing Phishing Threats

Dec, 2020 - By SMI

COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Companies Are Facing Phishing Threats

Along with all other challenges, now the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies also have to be alert for cybersecurity threats.

The threats to cyber security has always been a problem in the modern world. No economic or industrial sector is safe from the dangers of phishing threats. Recently, hackers have targeted the organizations responsible for the circulation of COVID-19 vaccines. The threat is mainly for organizations located in Greater Europe, South Korea, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Taiwan.

The phishing campaigns have mainly targeted the "cold chain" vaccine supply. The cold chain is a segment of the vaccine supply chain that keeps the vaccine dosage in cold storage for easier and safer transportation. Some vaccines cannot be stored at a higher temperature, and in order to remain active they need cold temperatures. For example, the recommended storage temperature for COVID-19 vaccines is -70 degrees Celsius. This already is a challenge for pharmaceutical firms, as they have to circulate millions and millions of vaccine dosages around the world.

Gavi, an international organization focusing on accessibility and distribution of vaccines is the main target of the hackers. More specifically the hackers are focusing on the Gavi's Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP), along with European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union and other associative support organizations such as security sectors, manufacturing, etc.

The hackers are using fake emails and pretending to represent Haier Biomedical, which is a supplier for CCEOP. These emails contain attachments demanding the users’ credentials, which the hackers can use to gain access to all the confidential data. Experts are suspecting a nation-state group rather than an individual or private group behind these attacks. IBM has alerted the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies to be on high alert.

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