A Russian intelligence agency and Chinese spies were behind cyberattacks on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last year. According to a Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, the European drug regulator had reported a cyberattack back in December and it had said that its documents relating to coronavirus vaccines and medicines were stolen and leaked on the internet. While Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations of hacking in the past as well, China, on the other hand, has previously opposed and cracked down on all forms of cyberattacks.
The media outlet said that the EMA has launched an investigation with Dutch and European law enforcement authorities, however, it has so far provided no details on who may have carried out the attacks. Further, it also informed that the EMA was targetted by Chinese spies in the first half of 2020, followed by Russian intelligence agents later in the year.
Hackers accused of hacking EMA’s system
The media outlet reported that the Chinese had gained access by hacking the systems of a German university. Russians, on the other hand, are alleged to have exploited flaws in the EMA’s two-step verification login and other types of cyber defence. The Russian hackers are also accused to have access to the EMA’s system for more than a month and they were believed to be mainly interested in which countries would use the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and how much they would buy.
Back in December, warnings about vaccine-related cyber crimes and the potential vaccine heists were also sounded by the European Union Police Europol. European Union police agency had said that the member states and third-party countries must stay vigilant against the organised crime scams linked to COVID-19 vaccines. “Increased vigilance for criminal fraudulent activity is advised to all Member States,” Europol said in a statement, stressing that criminals replacing genuine shots shipments with counterfeit vaccines.