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Did Chinese Hackers target Indian vaccine makers Bharat Biotech and SII?

According to reports, In recent weeks, a Chinese state-backed hacking group has targeted the IT systems of two Indian vaccine makers whose coronavirus shots are being used in the country’s immunisation campaign.

Goldman Sachs-backed Cyfirma, based in Singapore and Tokyo, said Chinese hacking group APT10, also known as Stone Panda, had identified gaps and vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure and supply chain software of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker.

Bharat Biotech International Limited is an Indian biotechnology company headquartered in Hyderabad, India engaged in the drug discovery, drug development, manufacture of vaccines, bio-therapeutics, pharmaceuticals and health care products.

Serum Institute of India is an Indian biotechnology and pharmaceuticals company. It is located in Pune, India.

The relations between India and China have been rocky since last June when 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed in a Himalayan border fight.

“The real motivation here is actually exfiltrating intellectual property and getting competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies,” said Cyfirma Chief Executive Kumar Ritesh, formerly a top cyber official with British foreign intelligence agency MI6, reports Reuters.

Referring to hackers Ritesh stated, “In the case of Serum Institute, they have found a number of their public servers running weak web servers, these are vulnerable web servers,”

China’s foreign ministry did not reply to a request for comment. But responding to a question on whether Chinese hackers had a role in attacking India’s power grid which caused a blackout in Mumbai last year, the ministry said it was a staunch defender of cybersecurity.

“China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyberattacks,” its embassy in New Delhi said on Twitter, quoting the foreign ministry. “Speculation and fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyberattacks.”

Cyfirma said in a statement it had informed CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) authorities and that they had acknowledged the threat.

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