A medical facility in charge of vaccine testing was attacked by a group of hackers who previously claimed not to target health facilities during this time.
According to Forbes, the Hammersmith Pharmaceutical Research Center in the UK during a trial of the Covid-19 vaccine was attacked by hackers. The criminal group used a malicious code called Maze to steal data, then spread information on the Internet for ransom. Worth mentioning, this group of hackers is among the cyber gangs that previously vowed not to attack health organizations during the Covid-19 season.
According to Computer Weekly, Director Hammersmith Malcolm Boyce said he had discovered and stopped the criminal group’s attempt to steal information on March 14. “We tried to repel the attack, then restored the system as quickly as possible,” Boyce said.
The attackers stole patient information, then published a number of records on the Internet. Boyce said the criminal team sent the files containing detailed information about volunteers participating in the vaccine testing 8-20 years ago, then posted the information on the black web.
The FBI has warned of a significant increase in data attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most likely, criminals will take advantage of users’ bewilderment before the disease to deceive a malware campaign targeting Windows devices.
Many people believe that cyber-attack groups become less dangerous after announcements not aimed at the health sector during this period. “However, the financial benefits have blurred them,” said information security expert John Opdenakker.
Mr. John said that during the time of the epidemic, health organizations were the lucrative prey for cybercriminals to commit extortion. However, Director Malcolm Boyce said that he would rather let the money do business than earn money for criminals.
Analyst at Emsisoft Brett Callow said the criminal team would not publish all the stolen data. The way they work is to name the companies they access on the website. If the company refuses to pay the ransom, they will publish a portion of the data collected.
“The more stubborn, the more information will be exposed,” Callow added. There have even been cases of data being posted on Russia’s notorious cybercrime forums for hackers to use for any purpose.
Callow warned that the threat level could be higher than usual. During this time, Emsisoft is providing services to reduce the risk of extortion to hospitals or health centers attacked by malicious code.