After the breakthrough discovery of Israeli researchers on the possible drugs that can stop COVID-19 made waves, hackers launched cyber intrusion. The intention was not to steal research data or findings but to disrupt or distract the ongoing research.
According to the news released by Israel Hayom, photoshopped images and videos of Israel’s capital Tel Aviv going down in flames defaced Israeli websites. The cyber attacks were launched before the Quds Day Celebrations in Iran, a day characterized by an upsurge of Pro-Iran cyber intrusions. No damages were recorded with cyber attacks. This is not the first time Iran is dragged into cyber intrusion. Iranian hackers attempted to penetrate Gilead Sciences, which is the maker of a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical trials.
State-sponsored cyber attacks have been launched to disrupt researches or steal research findings on drugs or vaccines that can stop COVID-19. A news article released by info security mentioned that hackers are targeting UK universities, which are engaged in the race to find a vaccine or drug that can stop the cause of the pandemic. The cyber attacks may have not recorded damages but they are significantly increasing in number. The state-sponsored espionage, however, can have its toll and long-term damage on those universities with prize to spur innovation and establish research partnerships.
Early this month, the US and the UK released a joint advisory that COVID-19 studies or researches have become the target of cyber theft, which takes advantage of the ongoing pandemic. These cyber intrusions have been targeting pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research organizations that are currently engaged in the quest for the COVID-19 drug or vaccine.
About two weeks ago, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a warning against Chinese hackers who aim at stealing American research on vaccines and treatments against COVID-19. The warning delves on the propensity of the cyber theft to target academic and private laboratories. The said cyber intrusions or attacks imperils the possibility and effectivity of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment.