As the process of administering Covid -19 vaccines begins in many countries, director of the United States' National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has expressed concerns over the efforts by China and Russia to 'target' the vaccine supply chain.
Speaking at a virtual event, top NCSC official William Evanina said, "It's a very complex problem, and I would definitely commend the women and men of the US Army and the entire government that is part of Operation 'Warp Speed' to ensure that we are able to facilitate that transportation of the vaccine safely, well knowing that our adversaries are trying to disrupt that supply chain."
When asked which countries according to him were targeting the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain, Evanina said, "China and Russia right now." However, he is not the first to raise concerns on the matter.
Last month, Tonya Ugoretz, the FBI's deputy assistant director of the Cyber Readiness, Outreach, and Intelligence Branch, said that nation-state adversaries were combining cyber with traditional espionage and human sources to try to "penetrate organizations" involved in the manufacturing and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Similarly, IBM had released a report stating that a "global phishing campaign" was targeting the cold storage portion of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain, with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issuing a joint alert, urging groups involved in vaccine supply and storage chain to keep a check on cyberattacks.
In September 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray had testified before a Senate Committee that Chinese hackers were targeting the research related to COVID-19.
"We are seeing very aggressive activity by the Chinese, and in some cases by others, to target our COVID-related research, whether it's vaccines, treatments, testing technology, etc.," Wray said.
As many as 91,374,370 people around the world have tested positive for coronavirus and 1,956,635 have succumbed to the disease.
(With inputs from agency)