Cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma has observed a China based hacking group targeting the IT systems of two well-known Indian vaccine makers, the Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India. The coronavirus shots made by these two companies are being used in the country’s immunisation campaign.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is the world’s largest vaccine maker and along with Bharat Biotech, India produces more than 60% of all vaccines sold in the world.APT10 also known as Stone Panda is a China based hacking group identified the vulnerabilities present in the IT infrastructure and supply chain software of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India (SII) and took advantage of these vulnerabilities to target these vaccine makers.
Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN shot, developed with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, will be exported to many countries, including Brazil. At present, SII is making the AstraZeneca vaccine for many countries and will soon start bulk-manufacturing Novavax shots. APT10 targeted SII by exploiting a number of vulnerable weak SII public servers.
Relations between nuclear-armed neighbours China and India have not been very good. Amid this rivalry, such attacks by China based hackers are considered to be a serious threat for India.