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Microsoft Urges Governments To Fight Against North Korean And Russian Attacks On Healthcare

In a sternly worded blog post, Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President of Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft, has stated that everyone should condemn attacks on healthcare institutions striving to curb the spread of the ongoing pandemic.


The executive says that three groups are mainly responsible for these malicious activities, namely; Strontium from Russia, Zinc, and Cerium from North Korea. The Russian group – also involved in offensive against US elections – is using password spray; and also brute force login attempts to steal accounts. Meanwhile, members of Zinc and Cerium are both using spear-fishing methodologies.


Microsoft says that all three groups have been targeting researchers such as pharmaceutical companies working to develop COVID-19 vaccines. These targets have are mainly in seven countries including; Canada, France, South Korea, India, and the US.

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Burt wrote: Today, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith is participating in the Paris Peace Forum where he will urge governments to do more. Microsoft is calling on the world’s leaders to affirm that international law protects health care facilities; and to take action to enforce the law. We believe the law should be enforced not just when attacks originate from government agencies but also when they originate from criminal groups that governments enable to operate – or even facilitate – within their borders. This is criminal activity that cannot be tolerated.


“[…] In the leadup to this year’s Paris Peace Forum, more than 65 health care-related organizations have joined the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. They include organizations like Merck working on vaccines, top hospitals like Hospital Metropolitano in Ecuador, and government health institutes like Poland’s National Institute of Public Health. There is no question the attacks we’ve seen in recent months are creating energy for action across the health sector. The Paris Call remains the largest multi-stakeholder coalition addressing these issues, and its first principle is the prevention of malicious cyber activities that threaten indiscriminate or systemic harm to people and critical infrastructure.”

Microsoft has also detailed several other efforts that are taking place from various sectors in different countries. In addition, it has urged world leaders to take steps to protect healthcare institutions from malicious activities.


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