“In recent months, we’ve detected cyberattacks from three nation-state actors targeting seven prominent companies directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for COVID-19,” Microsoft’s Tom Burt wrote in a blog post. “The targets include leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea, and the United States. The attacks came from Strontium, an actor originating from Russia, and two actors originating from North Korea that we call Zinc and Cerium.”
Most of the groups targeted are working on vaccines for the coronavirus, Burt noted.
“The majority of these attacks were blocked by security protections built into our products,” he said. “We’ve notified all organizations targeted, and where attacks have been successful, we’ve offered help.”
Burt added that during the upcoming Paris Peace Forum, Microsoft President Brad Smith will be “calling on the world’s leaders to affirm that international law protects healthcare facilities and to take action to enforce the law.”
Burt continues: “We believe the law should be enforced not just when attacks originate from government agencies but also when they originate from criminal groups that governments enable to operate — or even facilitate — within their borders. This is criminal activity that cannot be tolerated.”
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