Russia, North Korea Targeted Covid Research With Cyber-Attacks: Microsoft
North Korean and Russian hackers hunt down drug developers against COVID-19
Microsoft said Friday that hackers working for the governments of Russia and North Korea have attacked more than half a dozen organizations researching and developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 around the world..
The software company said that a Russian hacker group commonly referred to as «Fancy bear», along with a couple of North Korean actors that Microsoft calls «zinc» (Zinc) and «cerium» (Cerium) have been implicated in recent infiltration attempts by seven pharmaceutical companies and vaccine developers from Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States..
Microsoft said most of the targets were organizations that were in the process of testing the COVID-19 vaccine. The company added that most of the hacking attempts were unsuccessful, but an unspecified number of them were successful..
Microsoft declined to name which of them were attacked and by which entity, or to provide exact timelines or descriptions of the intrusion attempts..
The Russian Embassy in Washington, which has repeatedly denied allegations of Russia’s involvement in digital espionage, said in an email that their previous denials «nothing to add».
#TheCube Russian and North Korean hackers targetted COVID-19 vaccine research, Microsoft says
North Korea’s representative to the UN did not immediately respond to messages asking for comment. Pyongyang has previously denied the cyberattack overseas.
Cyber espionage allegations appear against the backdrop of how world powers are racing to create a vaccine against coronavirus with all available forces and means.
These acts of digital aggression also highlight Microsoft’s efforts to enact a new set of global rules that prohibit cyberattacks against healthcare providers..
Microsoft CEO Tom Burt (Tom Burt) said in a statement that his company has timed its announcement to coincide with the appearance of Microsoft’s president Brad Smith (Brad Smith) at the virtual Paris Peace Forum, where he called on world leaders «confirm that international law protects healthcare facilities and take steps to enforce the law».