Hackers stole and changed Pfizer’s vaccine research to damage reputation

Get a free Techzine subscription!

One of the most promising coronavirus vaccine makers reported that hackers stole confidential information submitted by the company to the EU’s regulatory body. On Friday, it became clear that the hackers falsified some of the information on the submissions’ contents before posting it to the internet.

Both Pfizer and BioNTech developed the vaccine in question. It was named BNT162b2 and was 95% effective at preventing Covid-19 and is consistent across every major demographic, including age, race, gender, and ethnicity.

Even with such huge merit and scientists agreeing that the vaccine is safe, it has its critics, who are not convinced.

Falsified information

According to the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam, data illegally stolen and released by the hackers included confidential email correspondence from November related to the evaluation process of the vaccines.

Some of the correspondence has been manipulated by hackers before publication to undermine the public’s trust in the vaccine.

The statement from the EMA did not say where the documents were posted or which parts were falsified. At the EMA, a spokeswoman said that they saw commentary added by the hackers or changed details meant to undermine the vaccine’s near-universal acceptance.

Hackers target COVID-19-related information

An Italian security company known as Yarix did some investigations on its own and found that more than 33MB of data was stolen from EMA and posted to a popular Dark Web forum in late December.

The Dark Web Forum posted it under the title ‘Astonishing Fraud! Evil Pfffizer! Fake Vaccines,’ with a link that led to a forum on a Russian-language website.

Confidential material regarding the pandemic and vaccines has been targeted increasingly by hackers ever since the whole thing started. The EMA disclosure is the first, but there could be more breaches.