Cyberattacks on COVID-19 vaccine supply chain much larger than initially thought, IBM says 

A 2020 cyberattack campaign on medical equipment manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms and IT companies involved with the COVID-19 vaccines' cold chain distribution system was much larger than IBM researchers initially thought. 

During an April 29 interview with CBSN's Elaine Quiljano, CBSN technology reporter Dan Patterson described more details about the hack that he learned from IBM researchers. 

In 2020, hackers began working to access information about the vaccines' cold chain distribution system, including details on how the shots were shipped, according to the report. A total of 44 companies across 14 countries were targeted in the hack. 

"So, according to the security researchers I spoke with at IBM's X-Force, they said this is a well-calibrated, complex, and precision campaign targeting the vaccines' cold chain," Mr. Petterson said. "So that's kind of like a supply chain for things that need to stay cold, like medicine, vaccines, and food. And a lot of the components of that cold chain are pretty diverse." 

The campaign started with a phishing attack targeting executives and high-level officials at 44 companies across North America, Europe, South America and Asia. 

The federal government is working to prevent future attacks on the vaccine supply chain, Mr. Petterson said, adding that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued numerous alerts about these incidents throughout the course of the vaccine rollout. 

"We are seeing partnerships, and we do know that forensic evidence or forensic investigators are kind of hacking or tracking down the potential adversaries who perpetrated this hack," he said. 

On April 29, cybersecurity officials from Amazon, Microsoft, the FBI and other major tech and government agencies released a report insisting the U.S. increase ransomware protections amid the spike in ransomware attacks against healthcare and government organizations.


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