Looking behind the European medicines data breach

Important documents may have been taken following a data breach relating to Europe\’s drug regulator – the European Medicines Agency (EMA). It seems that the data breach was politically motivated.
It appears that the criminals involved not only took important documents, in December 2020, but also adulterated them (as reported by European officials). These documents were released as altered medical documents seemingly to undermine trust in the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, according to InfoSecurity Magazine.

The motive was either to promote an anti-vaccine message or to undermine confidence in European institutions.

To counteract this, the agency has sought to reassure the public in its statement on the matter. “Amid the high infection rate in the EU, there is an urgent public health need to make vaccines available to EU citizens as soon as possible,” the European Medicines Agency said in a statement.

Looking at the issue is Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet.

Haworth begins by discussing the nature and thrust of the attack: “The attack on the European Medicines Agency in December and subsequent leaking of altered documents revealed late last week has highlighted the potential of disinformation campaigns to be life threatening.\”

Haworth also notes that similar tactics were used in the runup to the U.S. presidential election. These other attacks \” threatened to erode public trust. Now, with global health on the line, governments around the world cannot afford to have their citizens lose trust in their ability to protect them. \”

But together, such events carry \”real world implications, potentially leading to people not getting vaccinated and leaving themselves and loved ones vulnerable to a dangerous virus. \”

Haworth adds that “It is very important that public institutions have good breadth and depth of security to defend against these types of attacks\”

As to how appropriate measures can be enacted, Haworth recommends various measures: \”From identifying where education needs to take place, systems that can build a broad foundation of security into the public sector infrastructure, through to technology that works deep in the network and can identify anomalous behaviour.

Ultimately, by coordinating threat intelligence and response between governments and industry, resilience to disinformation campaigns and the subversive methods used by cyber criminals can be built.”

Original article was published in the http://www.digitaljournal.com/ and was written by Tim Sandle


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