Facebook Bans False COVID-19 Vaccine Claims

03 Décembre, 2020, 19:23 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
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Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media has been flooded with lurid claims that Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe and part of a secret plan to control the global population.

Facebook said Thursday it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Thursday alerted organizations involved with the storage and transport of vaccines to be on the lookout for the type of phishing operations described in IBM advisory.

In the ploy, executives with groups likely associated with the initiative known as Covax - created by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies - were sent spoofed emails appearing to come from an executive of Haier Biomedical, a Chinese company considered the world's main cold-chain supplier, the analyst said. The cold supply chain is critical in the deployment of the vaccine, which takes highly specialized equipment to keep vaccine doses at chillingly low temperatures so they can still be effective when administered to an individual.

The hackers went through "an exceptional amount of effort", said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report.

The hackers had researched the correct make, model, and price of various refrigeration units to make the messages seem authentic, Zaboeva said.

"Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic", she said.

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Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn't clear.

The campaign's targets, in countries including Germany, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan, are likely associated with the development of the "cold chain" needed to ensure coronavirus vaccines get the nonstop sterile refrigeration they need to be effective for the almost 3 billion people who live where temperature-controlled storage is insufficient, IBM said.

The IBM team said it was not known why the hackers were trying to penetrate the systems.

Last month, Microsoft said it had detected mostly unsuccessful attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. Chinese state-backed hackers have also targeted vaccine makers, the USA government said in announcing criminal charges in July.

On Wednesday, Britain became the first to country to authorize a rigorously tested COVID-19 vaccine, the one developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech.

Other countries aren't far behind: Regulators in Canada, the US and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer vaccine along with a shot made by Moderna Inc. British and Canadian regulators are also considering a vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

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