Vaccine ‘cold chain’ distribution network targeted by hackers, IBM says

International organisations involved in distributing Covid-19 vaccines have been targeted by cyber spies, according to IBM.

The US tech giant said it had uncovered a “global phishing campaign” it believes started in September, targeting those associated with the “cold chain” for storing and transporting vaccines at the right temperature.

It is not clear who carried out the attack but security researchers said it had the “hallmarks” of being a nation state.

HEALTH Coronavirus
HEALTH Coronavirus

The attempt spanned six countries linked to the Cold Chain Equipment Optimisation Platform (CCEOP) of Gavi, the international vaccine alliance which helps distribute jabs to some of the world’s poorest countries.

“Given the specialisation and global distribution of organisations targeted in this campaign, it’s highly likely that the adversary is intimately aware of critical components and participants of the cold chain,” IBM said.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, set to roll out in the UK from next week, was not a specific target of this incident.

Those affected and authorities have been notified about the operation.