A cyber-attack hit the European Medicines Agency (EMA). At the hour of the divulgence of the hack, the EMA didn’t give technical insights concerning the attack, nor any information on whether the attack will affect its operations while it is evaluating and approving COVID-19 vaccines.
The European agency plays a vital role in the evaluation of COVID-19 vaccines across the EU, it has access to sensitive and confidential data, including quality, safety, and effectiveness of information coming about because of trials. The European Medicines Agency said on Friday that a continuous investigation concerning the cyberattack demonstrated that hackers got emails and records from November identified with the evaluation of experimental Covid vaccines.
The agency, which regulates medications and drugs across the 27-part EU, had troves of confidential COVID-19 information as a feature of its vaccine approval process.
“A portion of the correspondence has been manipulated by the culprits before distribution in a manner which could sabotage trust in vaccines,” the agency said. It didn’t clarify what data was altered — but cybersecurity experts state such practices are typical of disinformation campaigns launched by governments.
Italian cybersecurity firm Yarix said, “the intention behind the leak by cybercriminals is sure: to cause critical harm to the reputation and credibility of EMA and Pfizer.” The agency said that given the overwhelming toll of the pandemic, there was an “urgent public health need to make vaccines accessible to EU residents as quickly as time permits.” The EMA demanded that despite that urgency, its decisions to recommend the green-lighting of vaccines were based “on the strength of the scientific proof on a vaccine’s safety, quality and efficacy, and nothing else.”
The agency, which is situated in Amsterdam, went under hefty criticism from Germany and other EU part nations in December for not approving vaccines against the virus all the more rapidly. The EMA gave its first recommendation for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine weeks after the shot got approval in Britain, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
The EMA said law enforcement authorities are taking necessary action in response to the cyberattack.