Hackers targeted documents related to approved Covid-19 vaccine: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 10, 2020 Published on December 10, 2020

EMA says attack will not affect vaccine roll-out time line

According to a statement released by biotech firm BioNTech, hackers secured documents related to approved Covid-19 vaccines after they hacked the European Medicines Agency, as per a CNET report.

BioNTech stated that the hackers “unlawfully accessed” regulatory documents of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate presented by biotech firm BioNTech and partner pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

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The European Medicines Agency, which is expected to review the efficacy of the vaccine, confirmed the hack in its official statement and wrote: “EMA has been the subject of a cyber attack. The Agency has swiftly launched a full investigation, in close cooperation with law enforcement and other relevant entities.”

It added: “EMA cannot provide additional details whilst the investigation is ongoing. Further information will be made available in due course.”

The agency added that the hacking will not affect the vaccine roll-out time line.

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Distributor information

BioNTech said in an official statement that its own servers were not targeted by the hackers and that it’s unaware of theft of any personal data belonging to its 43,500 test subjects.

According to the CNET report, the agency is yet to figure out who was behind the attack but hackers from countries including China, Russia, and North Korea have targeted pharmaceutical firms that are developing Covid-19 vaccines.

The report further stated that the hackers also attacked the information related to the roll-out of the vaccine. They did it by posing as cold storage supply chain companies and aiming at distributors who will be providing the vaccines to millions of people.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said that it is supporting vaccine research and helping its defence against hackers. It’s still investigating the breach, the agency said in a statement.

“We are working with international partners to understand the impact of this incident affecting the EU’s medicine regulator, but there is currently no evidence to suggest that the UK’s medicine regulator has been affected,” the agency said.

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Published on December 10, 2020
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