UK accuses Russia of trying to hack and steal coronavirus vaccine data
LONDON (UK) – UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday that hackers supported by Russia are trying to lay their hands on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and drug firms in the country.
In a joint statement, the UK, US and Canada blamed the group APT29, also known as ‘Cozy Bear’, for the cyber attacks, adding that it was being operated by Russian intelligence services.
“We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” said NCSC Director of Operations, Paul Chichester.
UK foreign minister Dominic Raab said it was “completely unacceptable” for Russian intelligence units to target research on the pandemic.
“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behaviour, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health,” he said in a statement.
The cyber security cell said the group is using various tools and methods such as spear-phishing and custom malware to for the attack which is ongoing.
“APT29 is likely to continue to target organisations involved in COVID-19 vaccine research and development, as they seek to answer additional intelligence questions relating to the pandemic,” the NCSC statement said.
In May, the UK and the US said cyber criminals were focusing on national and global outfits engaged in fighting the pandemic.
Cozy Bear, which is allegedly linked to the Russian government, is also accused of hacking the Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 US election.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field