Chinese hackers target Indian vaccine makers SII, Bharat Biotech, says security firm


A Chinese state-backed hacking group has in current weeks focused the IT techniques of two Indian vaccine makers whose coronavirus pictures are getting used within the nation’s immunisation marketing campaign, cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma informed Reuters.

Rivals China and India have each offered or gifted COVID-19 pictures to many international locations. India produces greater than 60% of all vaccines offered on this planet.

Goldman Sachs-backed Cyfirma, based mostly in Singapore and Tokyo, mentioned Chinese hacking group APT10, also referred to as Stone Panda, had recognized gaps and vulnerabilities within the IT infrastructure and provide chain software program of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker.

“The real motivation here is actually exfiltrating intellectual property and getting competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies,” mentioned Cyfirma Chief Executive Kumar Ritesh, previously a prime cyber official with British overseas intelligence company MI6.

He mentioned APT10 was actively focusing on SII, which is making the AstraZeneca vaccine for a lot of international locations and can quickly begin bulk-manufacturing Novavax pictures.

“In the case of Serum Institute, they have found a number of their public servers running weak web servers, these are vulnerable web servers,” Ritesh mentioned, referring to the hackers.

“They have spoken about weak web application, they are also talking about weak content-management system. It’s quite alarming.”

China’s overseas ministry didn’t reply to a request for remark. But responding to a query on whether or not Chinese hackers had a job in attacking India’s energy grid which induced a blackout in Mumbai final 12 months, the ministry mentioned it was a staunch defender of cyber security.

“China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyber attacks,” its embassy in New Delhi mentioned on Twitter, quoting the overseas ministry. “Speculation and fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyber attacks.”

SII and Bharat Biotech declined to remark. The workplace of the director-general of the state-run Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) mentioned the matter had been handed to its operations director, S.S. Sarma.

Sarma informed Reuters CERT was a “legal agency and we can’t confirm this thing to media”.

Cyfirma mentioned in a press release it had knowledgeable CERT authorities and that that they had acknowledged the risk.

The U.S. Department of Justice mentioned right here in 2018 that APT10 had acted in affiliation with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Microsoft mentioned right here in November that it had detected cyber assaults from Russia and North Korea focusing on vaccine firms in India, Canada, France, South Korea and the United States. North Korean hackers additionally tried to interrupt into the techniques of British drugmaker AstraZeneca, Reuters right here has reported.

Ritesh, whose firm follows the actions of some 750 cyber criminals and screens practically 2,000 hacking campaigns utilizing a software known as DeCYFIR, mentioned it was not but clear what info APT10 might have accessed from the Indian firms.

Relations between nuclear-armed neighbours China and India soured final June when 20 Indian and 4 Chinese troopers have been killed in a Himalayan border battle. Recent talks have eased rigidity.

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Additional reporting by C.Okay. Nayak; Editing by Nick Macfie)


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