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COVID-19 Vaccine Test Lab Hit by Maze Ransomware

Despite the fact that the hackers behind Maze ransomware previously promised not to hit medical organizations during the coronavirus pandemic, it recently attacked a British medical lab that is slated to test COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. The Maze hackers previously said publicly that it would “stop all activity versus all kinds of medical organizations until the stabilization of the situation with the virus.” Apparently not so.

What do we expect from criminals—that they will actually keep their word? It just seems particularly despicable right now.

Despite the public pledge, the cyber criminals behind Maze [view related posts] hit Hammersmith Medicines Research (Hammersmith), a British laboratory facility that is ready to test coronavirus vaccines with medical trials, with its ransomware on March 14, 2020. According to a spokesman for Hammersmith, which performed tests in the past for the Ebola vaccine, the cyber attack was identified and stopped without paying the requested ransom.

The problem with Maze is that its business plan relies on the ability to exfiltrate the victim’s data, then increase pressure on the victim by threatening to publish the data on the dark web if the victim doesn’t pay the ransom. It has been reported that Maze has used the same pressure techniques with Hammersmith after it refused to pay the ransom. Maze is now threatening to publish patient data from Hammersmith of patients involved in medical trials 8-20 years ago. Maze has reportedly already published some of Hammersmith’s patient data on the dark web. Just what Hammersmith needs to worry about while ramping up to test coronavirus vaccines.

Perhaps the hackers behind Maze should be thinking about their own health when they hamper coronavirus vaccine medical trials and approvals–they may need the vaccine one day. If only they would focus their capabilities on doing some good for the world or leave those who are actually working for the greater good to continue to do their good work without interruption.

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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
Partner

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

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