Interpol issues global alert on mafia threat to covid-19 vaccine

December 2, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

Interpol issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries warning them to gear up for organized crime networks targeting covid-19 vaccines. The group’s Orange Notice warned the international community to prepare for possible infiltration of the vaccine’s supply chains, both physically and online.

The notice also warns about the sale of fraudulent covid-19 vaccines.

“As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organizations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains. Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives. It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the covid-19 vaccine, which is why Interpol has issued this global warning,” said Jürgen Stock, the group’s Secretary General.

It’s not just the vaccines that could come under increased threat. Interpol said it is likely that a parallel production of unauthorized and falsified testing kits could also become important for law enforcement, especially as international travel gradually resumes.

The group has also advised that members of the public take special care while browsing online to search for medicines and medical equipment.

Around 1,700 of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware, an analysis by the group’s Cybercrime Unit found. This is in addition to the dangers of ordering potentially life-threatening products, Interpol added in its statement.

Interpol classifies its notices into seven categories. For more on that, click here.