Documents relating to the regulatory submission for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate were “unlawfully accessed” during a cyberattack on the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Pfizer said Wednesday.
“It is important to note that no BioNTech or Pfizer systems have been breached in connection with this incident and we are unaware of any personal data being accessed,” a statement said.
“We await further information about EMA’s investigation and will respond appropriately and in accordance with EU law.
“Given the critical public health considerations and the importance of transparency, we continue to provide clarity around all aspects of the vaccine development and regulatory processes.”
The Amsterdam-based EMA has said the incident was being investigated, but did not specify when it took place or whether its work on Covid-19 was targeted.
The Dutch national police high-tech crime team was involved in the probe into the cyberattack, but police gave no more information, the Dutch news agency ANP reported.
The EMA’s role as the drugs regulator for the 27-nation EU means it has access to data on the safety and quality of medicines from clinical trials and lab tests from companies that apply for authorization.
The agency has said it will give a decision on conditional approval for Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine at a meeting that will be held by December 29 at the latest, while a ruling on Moderna’s version should follow by January 12.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, BNT162b2, has received emergency approval in Great Britain and Canada.
The US Food and Drug Administration is holding a meeting on approval Thursday, with the green light expected in the days that follow.
The dematerialized office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace by Ericsson
The Ericsson IndustryLab report, The Dematerialized Office explores the white-collar employee perspective on a potential future reality where digital technology by 2030 could interact with our senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.
The pandemic as a digital tipping point
Welcome to the future workplace. But what does that workplace look like?
We surveyed over 8,400 white collar workers who are early adopters of AR, VR or virtual assistants from 16 countries, representing around 133 million people, about their expectations of the future workspace. They anticipate:
- A digital workstation that transforms with each task
- A virtual cake from a colleague that you can even taste
- Interactive digital meetings with people rather than being passively stuck behind a screen all day
- But also, future business that takes place digitally, where you can visit virtual stores and warehouses
This year’s pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. In our report we present a vision of the internet of senses in the 2030 workplace and explore the challenges and opportunities that this could present.
Key findings from the report
- Employees want an internet of senses for work
Imagine a fully immersive office experience, where all sensory experiences are digitally interactive. By 2030, the dematerialized office may be a reality. And for those working from home, the full-sense digital home office will also get a boost.
In fact, half of respondents want a digital workstation allowing full-sense presence at work from anywhere. Today, companies direct their funds into maintaining physical office space, but in the future, respondents hope this will be geared towards improving their home office environment.
- The pandemic has become a digital tipping point
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. After months of working on their computers at home, constantly engaged in video meetings in their sometimes chaotic home environments, nearly 6 in 10 foresee a permanent increase in online meetings.
They are also realizing that while connectivity is more important than ever before, digital meetings need to evolve before they become as effective as the real thing. There is simply a need for tools that better support remote interaction
- The sustainable dematerialized office
Dematerialization of the office will be driven by efficiency gains and sales, but the environment is also expected to benefit. With virtual offices for example, there would be no need to commute, or for companies to keep physical office spaces running. As many as 77 percent indicate that an internet of senses for business use would make companies more sustainable.
- Virtual interaction with clients and colleagues
How about a team building trip to Pompeii? What if Vesuvius suddenly erupted and engulfed you in lava, there would be a lot to talk about around the virtual water cooler later.
Team building becomes more important when there are fewer physical meetings, but virtual interaction has other benefits for companies too. 50 percent are saying that digital temperature will be used to more immersively engage customers by 2030. Providing immersive full-sense sales environments, such as a virtual shopping mall or warehouse will enable customers to digitally try before they buy.
- A taste of the future
Not a fan of the food in the canteen? Respondents think internet of senses technology will also be used inside companies and could help with this. 73 percent of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030, opening up for optimization of both cost and perceived quality.
- Security and privacy are key barriers
Privacy is increasingly set to become a critical challenge filled with paradoxes over the next decade. While many employees see the benefits of enhanced technology there is also a lot of fear.
As digital interaction moves beyond sound and vision to incorporate all our senses, and potentially also enables functionality such as thought control of devices, the avenues for fraud, manipulation and identity theft will grow exponentially.
While 66 percent think that by 2030, technology will enable them to sense when a colleague is upset, that also means their employer will know when they themselves are upset. The challenge will be in finding a balance that allows for fast adoption of digital technology in the workplace, while also respecting the integrity of employees.
FG Makes NIN Compulsory for Foreign Diplomats
Federal government has said that National Identity Number (NIN) is mandatory for foreign diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more.
Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said this in a statement by Dr Femi Adeluyi, his technical assistant, on Sunday.
He said that an enrolment centre has been established for the foreign diplomats at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement read, “The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has approved the setting up of a National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The desk will be set up by Tuesday, 19th of January, 2021.
“This enrolment centre will provide support for members of the Diplomatic Corps and will be managed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, through the National Identity Management Commission.
“The centre is being set up based on the request of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in order to simplify the process for diplomats.
“The National Identity Number is mandatory for diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more.
“It is also mandatory for all other lawful residents in the country as stated in Section 16 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007.
“The Law has made it mandatory for Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN since 2007. However, compliance has been low, until recently.”
Security Expert Raises Alarm Over New Feature on Telegram
Mr Ahmed Hassan, a security researcher, has warned Telegram users to be careful of the new feature on the messaging platform called People Nearby.
The latest feature shows a list of other nearby users and their approximate proximity, letting them create group chats based on geographic location.
The feature is turned off by default and must be manually enabled by the user, but it’s an “idiosyncratic addition for an app that markets itself as a private, end-to-end encrypted messaging service,” according to Mr Hassan, who noted that it’s a major security risk.
He warned in a recent blog post that users can fake their geographic location on Telegram, opening them up to potential scams.
In his words, “Many scammers spoof their location and try to sell fake bitcoin investments, hacking tools, SSNs that are used for unemployment fraud, and so on. The number of illegal activities I saw there make the Silkroad look like amateurs ran it.”
Mr Hassan further identified a flaw in the People Nearby feature that could let people with ulterior motives triangulate the exact location of other app-users by using two accounts with fake addresses. This opens users up to hacks, stalking, or worse—and Telegram has announced it has no plans to fix the problem.
Mr Hassan reported the vulnerability to Telegram, but the company says it won’t be patched since it is an optional feature.
In fact, Telegram told Mr Hassan that discovering a user’s specific location is an “expected” outcome of the People Nearby feature in certain cases.
Mr Hassan claimed that the response feels out of character for an encrypted messaging app that sells itself on its privacy features. Even adding a more detailed warning that other users could find your precise location would be helpful, but it doesn’t look like that will happen either.
Although Telegram is generally more secure than other chatting apps, and since the People Nearby feature is turned off by default, this may not seem like a serious issue.
However, users could turn the feature on without knowing, thinking they’re simply broadcasting their general proximity to someone else, and not their exact location, which is why a warning would be warranted. It is believed that if many know about this and stake a claim, it might spur the app to action.
Experts have warned that if users value their privacy, they should not use Telegram’s People Nearby feature.
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