US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The American regulator, which is considering applications for the approval of vaccines, contrary to custom, prohibited the submission of documents via the Internet. They had to be transferred to a USB stick through FBI agents. All because of fears of cyberattacks, in which the West has repeatedly accused Russian hackers.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned vaccine manufacturers from submitting paperwork online for registration, sources told the Financial Times. Instead, FBI agents had to be involved, who delivered important documents, recorded on a regular USB stick.
Usually the FDA accepted documents via the Internet without any problems, but in the case of vaccines it fears cyberattacks and therefore took additional precautions, the FT interlocutors explained.
The FDA’s concerns are not unfounded. On December 10, the European Medicines Agency, which deals with the approval of vaccines in the European Union, reported a hacker attack. As a result, it flowed documents related to the vaccine, and Pfizer BioNTech, said German startup. Neither the agency nor BioNTech specified exactly which papers and in what volume. “It always seems that there is too much protection until you understand that there is a reason for everything,” said Ugur Sakhin, CEO of BioNTech in a conversation with FT. He stressed that the company’s developments are patented, and he is sure that the kidnappers will not have enough skills and experience to produce a vaccine based on the data obtained.
Back in July, Britain’s National Cyber Security Center said Russian hackers were trying to steal data from coronavirus researchers and vaccine developers from Western countries. The US and Canada joined the accusations. Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov then said that the Kremlin has no information who could hack into research centers, and Russia has nothing to do with these attempts.
Microsoft in November reported that fixed several cyber attacks on seven companies that directly develop vaccines and cures for coronavirus. Microsoft says the attacks were carried out by three hacker groups: one from Russia and two from North Korea. In December, former US cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs accused Russia, China, Iran and the DPRK of trying to steal vaccine data . Russian authorities deny that they have ever been involved in hacker attacks.
“There are many parties involved in the COVID-19 vaccine production chain: research, development, testing, supply, and then directly the health workers who inject. They are all vulnerable to attack, ”Michael Farrell, executive at the Georgia Institute for Information Security and Privacy, told the FT.
The FDA approved an emergency vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech yesterday. It was also allowed by Great Britain and Mexico. Another American vaccine developer, Moderna, has also filed for registration. Russia’s Sputnik V became the world’s first registered vaccine.
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