REDMOND, Wash. — Several COVID-19 vaccine trials - one which began in Seattle with the first person in the U.S. ever to get the experimental shot - have been the prime target of foreign computer hackers from countries trying to steal the vaccine’s secret formula, and potentially disrupt the distribution, according to Microsoft, and cyber-security experts.
Microsoft said seven prominent but unnamed biotech companies testing vaccines were targeted in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States.
“Disinformation is continuing apace and it’s all about ‘don’t trust the vaccine,”’ said Mike Hamilton, President of Seattle’s CI Security, who explained the hackers goal is to intercept or disrupt the global race to have the first effective vaccine.
The country able to re-open their economy first would suddenly have an geopolitical advantage worth untold billions of dollars.
“It’s a strategic advantage by these countries in getting their populations vaccinated - and immune first - and making that (process) take a long time in the United States,” he said. “That could be a strategic reason for doing this. To make sure that we never get to that immunity.’'
Microsoft said “Some of the hacks were successful,” but “the majority of the attacks were blocked by security protections built into our products.”
But Hamilton says while we all wait for a vaccine to reopen the country, the FDA’s process of safely testing and approving a vaccine’s formula is still trustworthy, and cannot be changed by hackers.
© 2021 Cox Media Group