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Microsoft Says North Korea And Russia Are Trying To Hack Into Covid Vaccine Research

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According to Microsoft, state-backed hackers from Russia and North Korea are attempting to break into systems dealing with coronavirus research. The tech-giant, which develops cyber-security software said on Friday that it detected at least two hacker groups: ‘Fancy Bear’ from Russia, and Zinc and Cerium from North Korea as they endeavored to burst into the computer systems of seven pharmaceutical companies. Vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea, and the United States have also reportedly been targeted.

Microsoft has also detailed some of the tactics that the hackers used to force their way in. There was the use of brute force, where the hackers tried to log-in to the systems by trying millions of different software. There were also other malicious attempts, where emails were sent posing as World Health Organization officials and tried to trick people into handing over their login credentials. While Microsoft suggests that certain attempts were unsuccessful, it also reports that there a handful of successful break-ins too.

This isn’t the first time that Russia has been blamed for targeting vaccine researches abroad. The Russian embassy in Washington, USA, apparently told Reuters that the Russian government was in no way involved in the attempted break-ins. In July, the UK also blamed Russia for targeting vaccine research, especially that happening at Oxford.

Microsoft has called upon world governments to not target healthcare. In an open blog post, the company asked world leaders to "affirm that international law protects health care facilities and to take action to enforce the law".

Source: Official Microsoft Blog