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Microsoft says Russian and North Korean hackers attacked Covid-19 vaccine makers

By Cookie Monster - on 16 Nov 2020, 9:16am

Microsoft says Russian and North Korean hackers attacked Covid-19 vaccine makers

Image source: Microsoft

Microsoft claims that cyberattacks are now being used to disrupt health care organisations fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In a blog post, Microsoft shared it has recently detected cyberattacks from three nation-state actors that targeted 7 major companies involved in researching vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus.

The cyberattacks were carried out by Strontium, a Russian group, and two North Korean groups, Zinc and Cerium. The nation-state actors used a combination of password spray, brute force login attempts, and spear-phishing lures to steal login credentials.

The 7 prominent companies are based in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the U.S. Majority of these companies are vaccine makers which have products in different stages of clinical trials. In addition, these companies have contracts with or investments from government agencies from several democratic countries.

Microsoft says the majority of the cyberattacks were blocked by security protections built into its products. It has also notified all organisations targeted, and offered help where attacks have been successful.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rise in cyberattacks over the past few months. Check Point Research reported in May that there was a 30% increase in Covid-19 themed cyberattacks where hackers sent phishing emails posing as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and WHO.

Source: Microsoft via The Verge

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