News Chinese hackers steal data from Spanish developers of COVID-19 vaccine

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Secret services are behind most of the cyberattacks, but some were carried out by hackers hungry for profit.

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Chinese hackers have stolen confidential data from Spanish research centers working to create a vaccine against COVID-19, according to Spanish edition elpais.com. According to the National Intelligence Center (CNI) of Spain, the attackers attacked not only Spanish, but also other research organizations involved in the development of vaccines.

Sources told elpais.com that most of the cyberattacks were carried out from China and the Russian Federation. Often the secret services were behind them, but some of the attacks were carried out by university specialists and cybercriminals hungry for profit.

Chinese hackers are behind the cyber attacks on Spanish laboratories, sources said, who, however, refused to disclose the nature and relevance of the stolen information.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the Association of European Journalists, CNI chief Paz Esteban Lopez reported a "qualitative and quantitative increase" in the total number of cyber attacks during the quarantine period and noted that working remotely during isolation makes workers more vulnerable to online threats.

Earlier this year, researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC) working on experimental vaccines against COVID-19 were notified of the attacks. However, heads of six teams working on prototype vaccines said they were unaware of data theft from their computer systems. According to a spokesman for CSIC, there was no data breach in the Madrid research centers.
 
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