COVID-19 vaccine supply chain faces targeting by malicious cyber actors, experts say

“We have noticed an uptick in attacks against all aspects of the vaccine supply-chain from research through to manufacturing and distribution,” Okta Executive Director of Cybersecurity Marc Rogers told The Hill on Friday. 

Updated: December 6, 2020 - 4:23pm

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While the world has grappled with the coronavirus public health crisis, malicious cyber actors have reportedly targeted the vaccine supply chain.

“We have noticed an uptick in attacks against all aspects of the vaccine supply-chain from research through to manufacturing and distribution,” Okta Executive Director of Cybersecurity Marc Rogers told The Hill on Friday. “My suspicion is that all parties in the cybercriminal underground from ordinary criminals to nation states recognize that the vaccines represent a golden opportunity and are responding as such."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that multiple businesses working on coronavirus treatments have been targeted by North Korean hackers.

And the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency recently encouraged Operation Warp Speed organizations and those involved in storing and shipping vaccines to check out a report that discussed "a global phishing campaign" related to a component of the coronavirus vaccine supply chain.

"At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBM Security X-Force created a threat intelligence task force dedicated to tracking down COVID-19 cyber threats against organizations that are keeping the vaccine supply chain moving," the report said. "As part of these efforts, our team recently uncovered a global phishing campaign targeting organizations associated with a COVID-19 cold chain. The cold chain is a component of the vaccine supply chain that ensures the safe preservation of vaccines in temperature-controlled environments during their storage and transportation."