Russia hacked to steal COVID data; accuses US, UK and Canada

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Medical Research
Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has accused Russia of trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and medical organizations across the globe through state-supported hackers. 

The United States, Canada and Britain released a collective statement blaming the cyberattacks to a group called APT29 which is also known as Cozy Bear, which the group certainly believes to be operating on behalf of Russian intelligence services.

NCSC’s Director of Operations Paul Chichester said, “We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic.”

Researchers stated that client locations in the United States, Japan, China and Africa were targetted through an APT29 hacking tool over the last year. Meanwhile, Russian news agency RIA has cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that the Kremlin denied London’s allegations, which were not backed by proper evidence.

In a separate declaration, Britain also blamed “Russian actors” of trying to cause interference in its 2019 election by trying to spread leaked documents online. Russia’s foreign ministry remarked that those accusations were “foggy and contradictory”.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab replied it was “completely unacceptable” for Russian intelligence services to aim research work on the pandemic.

“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behavior, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health,” the foreign minister said in a statement adding that Britain would work with associates to hold perpetrators to account.