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International Espionage on the Lookout for the Corona Vaccine

With the ongoing development of a corona vaccine, intelligence services worldwide are being deployed for international espionage. Willemijn Aerdts, Lecturer Intelligence Services at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, was interviewed by the Dutch BNR News Radio. Aerdts is an expert in the field of intelligence and security agencies.

Pharmaceutical companies, such as the Dutch company Janssen en Janssen, are possible targets of espionage by foreign countries looking to gain more knowledge about the latest technological developments and medical research in relation to the corona vaccine. Most companies are aware of the threat of possible espionage. They are mostly keeping an eye on China, whether other countries are involved is difficult to say at this time.

Espionage Style

Every country has its own signature espionage style. China predominantly uses phishing emails allowing access to the system via a link they have sent to random personnel members. A more personal approach could be that people within a company get approached directly, however this is a rather long term strategy.


It is possible for companies and government agencies involved to take precautionary measures such as screening personnel, checking suppliers, adding additional security measures to the building, and having a security company do a check-up on the company's digital footprint, to name but a few examples. Aerdts warned that Dutch companies will have to remain vigilant to avoid this risk and take the necessary precautions.

You can listen to the entire radio interview (in Dutch) here.

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