The hackers took measures to hide their tracks, and the cyber-sleuths did not name which state might be behind the campaign.
The IBM team said it was not known why the hackers were trying to penetrate the systems. It suggested that the intruders might want to steal information, glean details about technology or contracts, create confusion and distrust, or disrupt the vaccine supply chains.
The hackers probably sought “advanced insight into the purchase and movement of a vaccine that can impact life and the global economy,” the IBM team said.
Because there was “no clear path to a cash-out” as there is in a ransomware attack, there was an increased likelihood of a state actor’s being involved, IBM said. However, the IBM investigators cautioned, it was still possible that criminals could be looking for ways to illegally obtain “a hot black-market commodity” such as an initially scarce vaccine.