ZDNet reported that the Oxford University’s Division of Structural Biology lab (aka “Strubi”) in the UK has confirmed that a security incident had occurred. Previously, a Forbes report discussed hackers boasting online that they had gained access to the lab’s biochemical preparation machines, and offering to sell the backdoor access to others. While Oxford University has been assisting in the development of a Covid vaccine, they have stated that this compromise has not impacted any clinical research, as the two labs are segmented off from the rest of the network. GCHQ has been informed and the National Cyber Security Center will investigate the incident.
As the exact nature of this attack came to light due to hackers posting on forums and offering to sell access to the compromising servers, Binary Defense recommends employing a proactive Threat Intelligence service, like Binary Defense’s own Counterintelligence Team in order to monitor for threats to organizations that are found on Forums, Darknet markets and Social Media postings.