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Unknown hackers are targeting the COVID-19 cold chain

2020-12-03 18:21 by
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Hackers, most likely sponsored by an unnamed government, have been targeting the COVID-19 vaccine "cold chain," which comprises of companies keeping vaccines at low temperatures to remain stable and usable, according to a U.S. government alert on Thursday.

IBM warned Thursday that it detected a phishing email scam spanning six countries aimed at organizations that are keeping the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain moving. The targets included companies and organizations in South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and "greater Europe."

Security analysts at the tech giant say the campaign launched in September by cyberattackers who likely want to get their hands on sensitive information about how the shots will be distributed once regulators approve them.The spear-phishing emails were disguised using the name of a business executive from Haier Biomedical, a Chinese company part of the UN's official Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP) program.

The emails were sent to "executives in sales, procurement, information technology and finance positions, likely involved in company efforts to support a vaccine cold chain." They appear to request quotations for the CCEOP program but actually contain malicious HTML attachments that victims need to download and open locally.

The cyber scheme and new warning comes as the world anxiously awaits widespread distribution of a vaccine that can potentially end the global pandemic. The logistics of distributing the Pfizer vaccine also presents new hurdles as it must be stored in ultra-low-temperature freezers.

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