Domestic organizations have been targeted by cyberattacks attempting to steal sensitive information on coronavirus vaccines, an information security firm disclosed to the Sankei Shimbun on Oct. 19. These were the first confirmed instances of such cyberattacks in Japan. Chinese hacker groups are suspected of being involved. No information leakage has been reported.
Amid increasingly fierce competition to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, attacks targeting vaccine information at research institutions have been intensifying, especially in Western nations. Japan’s National Information Security Center (NISC) has issued a warning for pharmaceutical manufacturers and research institutes to be on the lookout for potential attacks.
According to the U.S. security firm CrowdStrike, there have been intermittent cyberattacks on a number of organizations in Japan since April. In these attacks, the hackers have sent e-mail messages containing contaminated files related to the coronavirus. The names of the targeted organizations have not been disclosed, but an analysis of the tools used by the perpetrators suggests the attackers may be members of Chinese hacker groups.