With Russian hackers targeting Covid-19 vaccine projects, protecting key team members may make all the difference.

Wired Magazine recently published: “Russia’s Latest Hacking Target: Covid-19 Vaccine Projects.” They reported, “Officials in the three countries believe these have been attempts to steal intellectual property and information about potential vaccine candidates.” Pharmaceutical companies are regular targets for attacks motivated by intellectual property theft. It’s crucial for these companies to recognize that they need to protect key team members on these projects and company executives.

In May of this year, BlackCloak published research on Pharmaceutical Company Executive Compromise that showed:

  • Two out of three (68%) Pharmaceutical Executives’ emails had been exposed in a data breach incident in the past 5-10 years

  • Of those exposed, the cracked (unhashed, visible, cleartext) password was viewable on the dark/deep web for 57% of these executives with exposures

  • Of those involved in a data breach 84%  had an exposure from the 2015 LinkedIn data dump

  • Surprisingly 3% of the executives whose passwords were viewable on the deep/dark web used their company’s name as the password or as part of the password

While VentureBeat covered the story, it is doubtful that all of those holes have been plugged. Plus, for vaccine projects like this, the targets will likely be more than just the executives. It is conceivable that hackers may focus on targeting key team members on the projects to find another way in.

We recommend that all companies protect their executive team’s personal devices, private information, and home networks in an effort to protect the larger company. It’s why we exist. But, in a case like this with Russian hackers targeting a specific project like Covid-19 vaccine development, we recommend they identify key team members and extend protection to them as well.

Digital executive protection offers companies a way to protect their executives and team members without invading their personal privacy. Contact Us if you would like help protecting your executives and key team members.