Information related to one of the most promising coronavirus vaccines has been “illegally accessed” following a cut in the European regulatory body that is in the final stages of approval, companies in the vaccine development group said in Thursday.
The first Amsterdam-based European Pharmaceutical Company the crime has been reported. The statement said only that the EMA had come under online attack and had begun a joint investigation with law enforcement. The agency did not say when the hack happened or whether the attackers sought vaccine information, tried to infect the network with ransomware, or wanted to pursue another purpose. An EMA spokesman said in an email that “The facility is fully operational and work continues.”
At the same time on Wednesday, pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotech company BioNTech, issued a joint release who said, “Today, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) informed us that the agency has been subjected to a cyber attack and that some documents related to the regulatory submission for Pfizer and its COVID-19 vaccine candidate have BioNTech, BNT162b2, which has been stored on the EMA server, has been accessed illegally.”
The companies said that neither their systems were involved in the breach and that neither company was aware of any compromised data that identified study participants.
Studies of the BNT162b2 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech recently found it to be 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 and consistently effective across age, gender, race, and ethnic groups. The vaccine has been approved in the UK and Canada, and is pending approval elsewhere, including the European Union and the United States. The EMA is responsible for evaluating and approving medicines, medical devices, and vaccines for the EU.
COVID-19 researchers under fire
The past several months have seen a host of reports of hackers targeting research data related to the coronavirus and vaccines under development to prevent it. In July, the UK’s Cyber Security Agency said that “Cozy Bear,” a hacking group believed to be led by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, had used a variety of tools and techniques to target pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions are working on potential vaccines.
That same month, federal prosecutors indicted two Chinese nationals on racketeering charges and said the men had been trying to break into networks at a Maryland biotech company and company. a Massachusetts biotech. Both companies are publicly known in the cut-off time to work on COVID-19 vaccines.
Last month, Microsoft said that hackers from Russia and North Korea have targeted at least seven prominent companies involved in COVID-19 research in the US, Canada, France, India, and South Korea. COVID-19 investigation.
And last week, IBM said that people who are likely to work on behalf of a country have conducted an undercover campaign against companies involved in the COVID-19 supply chain. Hackers have also tried to attack pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccine research, including Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, AstraZeneca, and South Korean companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. Other countries have been accused of trying to cut off COVID-19 researchers, according to Reuters, including Vietnam and Iran.