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Microsoft says Hackers Targeting COVID-19 Vaccine

Nov 15, 2020

Image: (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Faizel Patel – 15/11/2020

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

As people across the globe wait in anticipation for a COVID-19 vaccine, Microsoft says state-backed hackers from North Korea and Russia have been targeting organisations working on a vaccine against the Coronaviru.

The software giant says a Russian group nicknamed “Fancy Bear” and North Korean groups dubbed “Zinc” and “Cerium” were implicated in recent cyber-attacks.

The BBC reports that while the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has previously said Russian hackers were targeting vaccine research, Russia has denied it is responsible.

Microsoft, which develops cyber-security software, says it had detected attempts to break into the computer systems of seven pharmaceutical companies.

Vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea, and the United States were also targeted.

Microsoft says the Russian group had used “brute force” tactics, trying to log in to accounts using millions of different passwords.

Last week pharmaceutical company Pfizer who is among some companies working on a COVID-19 vaccine released data showing that the Coronavirus vaccine that it is developing is more than 90% effective.

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