A group of Chinese hackers recently been targeting IT systems of two Indian corporations whose vaccines are currently being used in the country’s inoculation drive, as per cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma. The firm, which is backed by multinational giant Goldman Sachs, said that the hacking group APT10 from China had successfully identified issues in the software providing supply chain and IT support for Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII).
India produces more than 60% of all vaccines sold globally. Serum Institute of India, for one, already makes AstraZeneca shots for many countries and will start mass-manufacturing Novavax vaccines soon, as per a report from Reuters.
"The real motivation here is actually exfiltrating intellectual property and getting competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies," Cyfirma Chief Executive Ritesh Kumar was quoted by Reuters as saying, furthering his case by adding that when it came to SII, the Chinese group located several vulnerable web servers.
The Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India tweeted on Monday regarding the issue, saying, “As staunch defender of cyber security, China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyber attacks. Speculation and fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyber attacks. Highly irresponsible to accuse a particular party with no sufficient evidence around”.
Reportedly, the US Department of Justice said that ATP10 had acted while being associated to the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
US tech giant Microsoft, on the other hand, had said in November, 2020 that it had identified cyber attacks having been targeted towards vaccine makers in countries such as India, South Korea, United States, and France.