According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), few of the documents relating to the COVID vaccine, stolen during a cyberattack attempted in early December, made their rounds on the internet. In a press release scheduled on 12th January, EMA’s progressive investigation showed that some of the illegally accessed documents related to COVID vaccines were leaked to the internet.
When the initial cyberattack was announced on the 9th of December, EMA had revealed that there were only a limited number of third-party documents that had been illegally accessed.
EMA, however, is yet to indicate the specifications of the documents breached as well as withholds the information as to where exactly did the documents appear. Update by the EMA also reveals that the hacker attack involved only one IT application and that the COVID-19 related documents were the prime targets of the attackers.
Moderna issued a statement on December 14, 2020, saying that some documents containing records of the pre-submission discussions for the vaccine it co-developed with the National Institutes of Health had been accessed by the hacker attack. Pfizer and BioNTech, its partner in COVID-19 vaccine development, also acknowledged that some of their data had been accessed in the attack.
The vaccine developers do convey that the personal data of any of the study participants remain uncompromised. EMA also assures that the COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics evaluation and approval timelines remain unaffected by the breach as well.
Many officials as well as general spectators add the important fact that this has indeed been done with propaganda to spread misinformation and undermine trust in the covid-19 vaccines.
Neither EMA nor the drug companies who have confirmed that their documents were accessed by the attackers have given any indication of who is behind the staging of the incident. The agency has not confirmed the information technology application that was involved but said that the third party company that is helping with the investigation is also gearing up for additional cybersecurity measures against future vulnerabilities.