COVID-19 vaccine supply chain hackers are eyeing more countries: IBM

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
  • Follow author on
COVID-19 Vaccine
Representational Image

The American multinational technology firm, International Business Machines (IBM) has found that more than 40 companies across 14 nations are being targeted in the hacking campaign which focuses on the key businesses involved in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Last year, IBM has warned about hackers targeting those vital companies involved in the manufacturing, transportation and storage of the COVID-19 vaccines. The digital attackers have placed their eye over the complicated logistical work involved in global inoculation efforts.

In IBM’s blog post researchers from the X-Force cybersecurity group explained that the attacks against the cold chain, a temperature-controlled supply chain, increases the risk of intellectual property theft and potential disruption for shareholders in the fragile process of shipping vaccines across long distances at stable temperatures.

In December, the company reported that the discovery of the attacks, which involved hackers disguised as representatives of Qingdao Haier Biomedical, a China-based company and one of the world’s leading producers of the equipment to store and deliver materials at cold temperatures.

“Exploring the available emails, X-Force uncovered multiple features which likely signal the actor’s exceptional knowledge of the cold chain. While our previous reporting featured direct targeting of supranational organizations, the energy and IT sectors across six nations, we believe this expansion to be consistent with the established attack pattern, and the campaign remains a deliberate and calculated threat,” the researchers wrote.

Even though IBM didn’t identify any suspected hacking group involved in the attacks, earlier the company had stated that it believed the campaign was the work of an unspecified nation-state. IBM didn’t reveal that if the attacks were effective in getting people to click on the malicious attachments.

Related: WHO Chief blasts nations for shocking COVID-19 vaccine distribution imbalance