North Korean and Russian hackers have reportedly targeted the accounts of seven companies involved in researching COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
Microsoft said in some cases, the hackers have been successful, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). While Microsoft would not name the companies, they said that the seven companies being targeted operate in the U.S., Canada, France, India and South Korea.
“Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials,” Microsoft said in a blog post Friday.
The Russian hacking group allegedly behind the attacks is Strontium or Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 28, according to the report. APT 28 has been linked to numerous cyberattacks on U.S. and European targets in the past, including hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s networks during the 2016 presidential election, according to The Hill.
Russian hacking groups have been accused of trying to steal vaccines before, with Britain’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) alleging in July that APT 29 attempted to break into academic and pharmaceutical companies for data on COVID-19 vaccines and treatment.
Cyberattacks could delay clinical trials or research as scientists across the globe rush to develop a