Hackers altered stolen COVID vaccine papers
A cyber-attack on the European Union’s medical agency that was revealed last month, allowed hackers to steal information on COVID-19 vaccines, alter it, and then make it available online.
According to the European Medicines Agency, the latest results from the ongoing investigation of the attack that was revealed in December 2020 have shown that the malicious actors have tried to “undermine trust” with COVID-19 vaccines and spread disinformation by leaking altered data online.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) disclosed this news in its recent report on the cyber attack, published on Friday. The report reveals how the malicious actors behind the attack have gained access to internal emails containing classified information concerning the evaluation process of COVID-19 vaccines. The latest research has shown that some of the content of these compromised internal emails has been modified by the hackers responsible for the assault in an effort to generate mistrust and disinformation regarding the vaccines.
The EMA update informs that some of the correspondence that has been accessed has been manipulated prior to becoming public and this has been interpreted as an attempt to undermine trust in vaccines. According to them, the correspondence dating from November has been altered with comments or additions. However, the EU medicine regulator has not specified exactly what information was manipulated.
An earlier EMA update has revealed that during the attack in December, hackers have stolen COVID-19 vaccine info through the abuse of an IT application. The investigation on the case is still on and the Medicine Agency is fully supporting it. In their public release, EMA ensures that all law enforcement authorities are involved and all necessary actions are being taken. However, it has still not been revealed who stands behind the cyber attack aiming at distributing misinformation to weaken trust in COVID-19 vaccines.
At the same time, ever since the start of the pandemic, we have been witnessing how social media has been flooded with conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, as well as anti-vax comments.
The National Cyber Security Centre of the United Kingdom, Microsoft, and the World Health Organization have released official advisories aimed at warning organizations(such as universities, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, etc.) linked to COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution about the risk of becoming targets of hacking groups.