Report: Russian Intelligence and Chinese Spies Cyberattacked EU Drug Agency Last Year

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is responsible for evaluating drugs and vaccines in the European Union, was hit by a Cyber Attack last December. The latest reports say that the cyberattack was carried out by Russian intelligence agencies and spies with China.

Dutch media outlet De Volkskrant made the statement on Saturday (March 6), citing sources familiar with the investigation.

The Netherlands-based European Medicines Agency, which is investigating the matter with Dutch and European law enforcement authorities, has not yet provided any details on who carried out the cyberattack.

Dutch newspaper The People reported Saturday that the EDA was targeted by Chinese spies in the first half of last year and by a cyberattack by Russian intelligence agencies in the second half of last year.

Citing sources, the People’s newspaper said Chinese spies gained access to the EDA’s network by hacking into the systems of a German university. Russia, for its part, exploited the EDA’s lack of two-step login verification and other forms of cyber defense to carry out the cyberattack.

A spokesman for the European Medicines Agency did not comment on the claims, but said in an emailed response to a Reuters inquiry that the criminal investigation into the case by law enforcement agencies and others is being conducted in full cooperation.

The alleged Russian Hackers, who had access to the European Medicines Agency for more than a month, mainly wanted to know which countries might use the new crown vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and how much of it they would buy, the sources told People’s Daily.

Just hours after the EMA said it had been hit by the cyberattack, Pfizer and BioNTech said that their New Crown vaccine-related development data had been “illegally obtained” in the cyberattack against the EMA.

Documents stolen by hackers from the European Medicines Agency were later posted online, but the agency said the content had been redacted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not return a request for comment from Reuters on Saturday, but Moscow has repeatedly denied Western allegations of hacking. China’s Foreign Ministry also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Beijing has also said it firmly opposes cyber attacks of any kind.