Elite hackers tried to break into the World Health Organization earlier this month, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks.
WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said the identity of the hackers was unclear and the effort was unsuccessful. But he warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain the coronavirus.
An advanced group of hackers known as DarkHotel, which has been conducting cyber-espionage operations since at least 2007 is suspected to be behind this. Messages sent to email addresses maintained by the hackers went unreturned.
The WHO published an alert last month warning that hackers are posing as the agency to steal money and sensitive information from the public.
Costin Raiu, Head of Global Research and Analysis at Kaspersky, could not confirm that DarkHotel was responsible for the WHO attack but said the same malicious web infrastructure had also been used to target other healthcare and humanitarian organizations in recent weeks.
“At times like this, any information about cures or tests or vaccines relating to coronavirus would be priceless and the priority of any intelligence organization of an affected country,” he said.