Approximately 25,000 email addresses and their passwords belonging to employees at the WHO, Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Health, were hacked by some alleged activists.
The data accessed by cybercriminals with the sole purpose of sharing Coronavirus conspiracy theories, including linking HIV to the COVID-19. Cybercrime Intelligence Group which monitors online cybercrime activities of extremism and terrorism found the dumped data. They clarified that the leak was an attempt to pin down culprits of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is reported that the health sector is one of the most targeted areas by cybercriminals. They have attacked several hospitals and healthcare facilities in the past few years. During this Coronavirus crisis, the world organizations and research institutions are working relentlessly on vaccine and medical research, and by hackers conducting such attacks it not only hampers the research process but can also trigger several conspiracy theories related to the leaked data.
While sources were unable to verify whether the email addresses and passwords were authentic or not, however Robert Potter, an Australian cyber security expert said he was able to verify that the WHO email addresses and passwords were correct.
As per guidelines government agencies in the US use multi-factor authentication but not applicable universally, while most of the very sensitive computer systems have adopted extra layer of protection against cybercriminals. However, these hackers managed to get into the sensitive systems of top world organizations surpassing all the security measures.
As reported by sources, WHO has confirmed that email addresses available in the external systems were hacked and made public. The Geneva-based organization has clarified that the passwords now been reset for all accounts.
Some of the hacked credentials were found to be related to the Gates Foundation, which recently announced $150 million in new funding to combat the pandemic. The cybercriminals also targeted China’s controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the pandemic began and is currently facing the charge of an alleged role in triggering the outbreak.