The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU regulatory body in charge of approvingvaccines, said today it was the victim of a cyber-attack.
In a short two-paragraph statement posted on its website today, the agency discloses the security breach but said it couldn’t disclose any details about the intrusion due to an ongoing investigation.
in a follow-up statement released on its own website, BioNTech said that “some documents relating to the regulatory submission for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, which has been stored on an EMA server, had been unlawfully accessed” during the attack, confirming that COVID-19 research was most likely the target of the attack.
Over the past months, numerous companies working on COVID-19 research and vaccines have been the targets of hackers, and especially of state-sponsored hacking groups.
Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Genexine, Shin Poong Pharmaceutical, Celltrion, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Gilead have been targeted by hackers, according to reports from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.
In November, OS maker and cyber-security giant Microsoft said it detected three nation-state hacking groups (known as APTs) targeting seven companies working on COVID-19 vaccines, singling out Russia’s Strontium (Fancy Bear) and North Korea’s Zinc (Lazarus Group) and Cerium for the attacks.