Hackers target covid19 research systems


Some of the biggest news in today’s cybersecurity segment has some eye-popping ramifications for the global response to the covid19 virus.


At Reuters, Raphael Satter reports a Russian hacking group called Fancy Bear and some North Korean actors seem to be targeting various coveid19 research centers in countries around the world, citing data from Microsoft.


“Microsoft said the majority of the targets were organizations that were in the process of testing COVID-19 vaccines. Most of the break-in attempts failed but an unspecified number succeeded, it added,” Satter writes.


It’s not Fancy Bear’s first rodeo when it comes to large-scale hacking activities: in years past, the black hat organization made headlines for assaulting the DNC and conducting other hacking involving U.S. presidential elections.


According to cybersec firm CrowdStrike, Fancy Bear is at least somehow affiliated with the Russian military’s GRU.


However, Russia is denying the current involvement in trying to hack covid19 research.


“The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the hackers (in the current Fancy Bear activity) ‘almost certainly’ operated as ‘part of Russian intelligence services,’” write Chris Fox and Leo Kelion at the BBC. “It did not specify which organisations had been targeted, or whether any information had been stolen. But it said vaccine research had not been hindered by the hackers. Russia has denied responsibility.”

If even biosecurity is something to be treated like an arms race, where individual nations go after each other’s systems, that doesn’t speak well of our ability to harness technology in positive ways.


In fact, as some of the more clearheaded analysts and prognosticators point out, without controlling the virus, there will not be a traditional economy in the way that we tend to think of global and national finance.


To put this another way, no matter how well you structure your portfolio, you’re not going to make gains if the entire world is crashing because of covid19.


With that in mind we would all do well to put in place alternative standards and methods, in both technology and finance, when it comes to addressing the unique impact of this disease.