Threats from nation states and criminals to the health system are a growing concern.
The huge logistical challenge of rolling out vaccines faces the risk of disruption to complex supply chains.
And criminal ransomware poses a threat at a time when the pandemic has increased our reliance on technology.
The distribution of the various coronavirus vaccines may bring relief, but it also brings with it a major challenge: many of those involved have not had to think hard about security in the past.
The complex global supply chain for vaccines ranges from factories in one country to internet-connected fridges in another.
It will create new pressure on doctors’ surgeries, IT systems, and sometimes small providers who play a critical role.
IBM has already said it has seen suspected state-hackers target the “cold chain” used to keep supplies at the right temperature during transportation.
And in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre, which worked quickly when the pandemic began to secure vaccine research, has since pivoted its efforts towards vaccine distribution.
At least the large pharmaceutical companies are no stranger to cyber-espionage. Their security officials say they first began thinking hard about the issue after a major espionage campaign back in Spring 2010.
But the issues around the pandemic have changed the sector’s importance.
“We are now on a grander stage,” is how one person involved puts it.
In July, the UK accused Russian intelligence of targeting research, including for the Oxford vaccine, while the US accused Chinese hackers of similar activity.
Source: BBC News