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Security for COVID-19 Vaccine Dsitribution

January 04, 2021

The joy of having vaccines approved for COVID-19 has quickly been tempered by problems with its distribution. Now, as an article by Mackenzie Holland and Jim O'Donnell on the website makes clear, there are security threats to the supply chain.

IBM Security X-Force's COVID-19 threat intelligence task force has discovered a massive phishing campaign aimed at organizations in the vaccine distribution cold chain. According to Caleb Barlow, President/CEO of healthcare cybersecurity firm Cynergis Tek, these organizations probably have relatively low  security so they must now pay particular attention to threats. Organizations also need to securely track vaccines in transit to be sure they are not compromised, and combat misinformation on social media.

Threats appear to come from both nation-states and organized crime. Countries such as North Korea and Iran may want access to vaccines they are denied because of sanctions. Criminals want access to information and threaten disruption for extortion. Their actions  put lives as well as money at risk.

Security experts say compromise assessments and penetration testing could lead to greater confidence in secure vaccine distribution. The high visibility of the vaccine rollout may prove to be a learning experience in handling large and complex supply chain problems. Success can lead to greater security in the long run.