back to article Why would someone want to hack Germany's PPE supply chain? We're glad you masked

Hackers are targeting German companies tasked with replenishing the nation's supply of personal protective equipment. The team at IBM's X-Force says it has uncovered a highly targeted campaign against an unnamed German multinational outfit. That company, it is said, is part of a task force organized by the German government to …

  1. lglethal Silver badge
    Holmes

    Look this is all very important and very intriguing, but I need to step back a second. There's a team called X-Force!?!?!?! Where do i sign up?

    "Nice to meet you, so what do you do for a living?"

    "I work for the X-Force!"

    *cue dramatic music*

    (probably followed by a "huh?" "who?" "right..... I'm going to go over here now")...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My past employer had a side business of selling office equipment and all sorts of office paraphernalia: paper, pens, blu-tack etc.

      The company was called... X-Files.

  2. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
    Boffin

    tin foil hat?

    Didn't a certain orange idiot try to buy a German PPE manufacturer a while back? If so could we lay this attack at Uncle Sam's door rather than the usual suspects?

    1. botski@comcast.net

      Re: tin foil hat?

      My thoughts exactly. The Stable Genius With Unmatched Wisdom, The Chosen One (and what Tillerson said) has his spies looking for a vaccine. Then he, a topnotch epidemiologist (and meteorologist and military genius, etc etc), can claim he discovered it. He'll let Jared (aka, the Pez Dispenser) and Ivanka (the brilliant economist) (mis) manage it.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: tin foil hat?

        As one who lives under the reign of MADA (Make America Diseased Again - we're number one) Trump is certainly a viable possibility. But, then again, so are a number of nations and corporations.

    2. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

      Re: tin foil hat?

      There was an allegation that shipment of PPE destined for Berlin (coming from Thailand, if I recall the story correctly) was 'hi-jacked' by the Americans / on Trump's orders.

      Again as I recall, it was investigated and as far as any US involvement went, it was rubbish. I'm not sure it ever was reported what actually happened (bureaucratic screw-up or commercial fraud, presumably).

      Perhaps South Park should change the lyrics of 'Blame Canada' to 'Blame Trump'. Actually, no. Canada was innocent.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    This is insane

    A company making masks is not going to have data on a vaccine. I doubt very much that research companies have mask-making facilities, and I doubt even more that they would share vaccine data with anyone until they have something that works.

    Tell me that hackers are targeting vaccine research centers, that is understandable, but mask makers ?

    That's nuts.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: This is insane

      You've misread the article a bit. The German firm isnt a maker of PPE equipment, but a large German firm which makes use of PPE equipment and hence has contacts and a supply train already in existence. They are now being asked to leverage that network to source PPE equipment for the German government.

      My guess would be someone along the lines of Bayer or Merck.

      More than possible that such a firm has its fingers in at least some vaccine pies...

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: This is insane

      They aren't targeting the mask makers. They are targeting the mask buyers, presumably with an aim of finding out how much the competition is charging.

      The motive is one of two things.

      Firstly, it's a nation state trying to ensure that they don't bid more than a few pence over their competitors.

      Secondly, it's a nation state that owns factories making masks trying to ensure that they price themselves at about a penny less than the competition to avoid not making an optimal level of profit.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Why go public? If they've spotted it about it just keep quiet and feed them some disinformation.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      I don't suppose that disinformation about PPE is really all that big a deal. Depending on who is responsible, however, making it clear that you have caught them in the act might be more useful.

      Interesting (and amusingly appropriate) that they've chosen to do it in a "face saving" manner.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Plus, as we all should well know, catching one is not the same as catching all (if catching all is ever possible).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM team trying to prove they are 'needed'

    As a soon to be ex-IBMer it's more likely the team are just trying to prove they are needed to avoid getting RA'd. Unless you are into shameless self promotion singing the praises of how well you did the job you are paid for you will find yourself pink slipped.

    Most managers are running scared and say whatever groupthink is being spouted by IBM's upper management. At least I won't have to put up with the Friday afternoon videos appearing in Slack from Senior DPE's congratulating themselves on how well they are doing or their sermons from the mount before they disappear at 3pm.

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