Russian and North Korean hackers attack Covid-19 vaccine makers, - Microsoft

Source : 112 Ukraine

Most of the break-in efforts involved attempts to steal the login credentials of people associated with the targeted organizations
13:23, 14 November 2020

Open source

U.S. tech giant Microsoft witnessed efforts by Russian and North Korean hacking groups to target pharmaceutical companies and coronavirus vaccine researchers. This is stated in a message from Microsoft.

"In recent months, we’ve detected cyberattacks from three nation-state actors targeting seven prominent companies directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for Covid-19," Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of customer security and trust at Microsoft, wrote.

Related: Hackers attack website of Ukraine's Constitutional Court

"The targets include leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States."

Burt wrote that the three advanced persistent threat groups involved were a Russian group known as “Strontium” and two North Korean groups known as “Zinc” and “Cerium.”

Strontium, also known as “Fancy Bear,” is the same group that hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s networks ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

Related: Russian embassy denies accusations of hacker attacks in Norway

These are attacks that aim to break into people’s accounts using thousands or millions of rapid attempts. Zinc has primarily used spear-phishing lures for credential theft, sending messages with fabricated job descriptions pretending to be recruiters. Cerium engaged in spear-phishing email lures using Covid-19 themes while masquerading as World Health Organization representatives. 

"The majority of these attacks were blocked by security protections built into our products. We've notified all organizations targeted, and where attacks have been successful, we've offered help," Microsoft official wrote.

Burt also insisted the recent attacks against vaccine developers are "unconscionable and should be condemned by all civilized society."

As we reported earlier, Microsoft Company spotted three groups of hackers from Russia, China and Iran, who recently attempted attacks on the websites of the politicians and organizations participating in the presidential election campaign in the U.S.

Particularly, the issue is about such hacker groups as Strontium from Russia, Zirconium from China and Phosphorus from Iran.

Related: Microsoft claims to wiretap users' conversations

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