Hackers have leaked the information they stole about the COVID-19 vaccines as part of a cyberattack targeting the European Union's medical agency, the organisation has admitted.
The attack against the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was first disclosed last month and now it has been determined that those behind the hack gained access to information about coronavirus medicines.
"The ongoing investigation of the cyberattack on EMA revealed that some of the unlawfully accessed documents related to COVID-19 medicines and vaccines belonging to third parties have been leaked on the internet. Necessary action is being taken by the law enforcement authorities," the EMA said in a statement.
"The agency continues to fully support the criminal investigation into the data breach and to notify any additional entities and individuals whose documents and personal data may have been subject to unauthorised access," the EMA added.
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The EMA's work and the European medicines regulatory network are unaffected by the breach and the approval and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines hasn't been disrupted.
A previous update revealed that hackers gained access to the information by breaching one undisclosed IT application – and that the attackers were specifically targeting data related to COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. The investigation into the attack is currently still ongoing.
It isn't the first time pharmaceuticals firms and other organisations involved in COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution have been targeted by hackers. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has previously warned that universities and scientific facilities are being targeted by state-sponsored hacking groups attempting to gain access to research data.
Microsoft has also issued a warning that state-sponsored hacking operations have been targeting coronavirus vaccine producers, while the World Health Organisation has also issued warnings over an increase in cyberattacks targeting health.
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