As drug companies around the world race to produce an effective jab to counter a virus that has now killed more than 940,000 people and infected 30 million, El Pais, a newspaper in Spain, citing sources privy to the attack, reported Friday that Chinese hackers have stolen information from Spanish laboratories working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
According to Spain’s secret service chief Paz Esteban, hackers had mounted “a particularly virulent campaign targeting laboratories working on the search for a vaccine” not only in Spain but elsewhere. She added that there had been a “qualitative and quantitative” increase in attacks during lockdown, with hackers targeting “sensitive sectors such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals.” Such attacks had multiplied in other countries involved in efforts to develop a vaccine, prompting an exchange of information between their respective spy services, she further said.
Furthermore, according to security sources, most attacks were carried out by hackers from China and Russia, often from state organizations, but also by criminal organizations and universities who trade in hacked data. However, the attack in which Spanish data were stolen was launched by Chinese hackers.
The CNI intelligence services, headed by Esteban, was not immediately available to comment on the report.