Russian Hackers Try To Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research: US, UK, Canada

Russian Hackers Try To Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research: US, UK, Canada

269 - Russian hackers are accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccine research data from medical organizations involved in its development. This accusation was made by the US, British, and Canadian security officials quoting a Russian hacking group called APT29 (aka: "The Dukes" or "Cozy Bear") behind it.

An advisor, published by Britain's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), said, “APT29’s campaign of malicious activity is ongoing, predominantly against the government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare, and energy targets to steal valuable intellectual property.”

Immediately after this advisor, NSA Cybersecurity Director Anne Neuberger said in a statement: “The National Security Agency (NSA), along with our partners, remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting national security by collectively issuing this critical cybersecurity advisory as foreign actors continue to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

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APT29’s ties with Russia

The NCSC assessment claimed that the APT29 hacker “almost certainly operate as part of Russian Intelligence Services.”

This assessment was also supported by partner agencies such as the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS), Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Canadian Communication Security Establishment (CSE).

Russia denies the accusation

According to the government-run TASS news agency, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia “has nothing to do” with cyberattacks on organizations working on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Such cyberattacks expected from China as well

Just before Thursday's announcement, US officials had warned about China, which also has a history of trying to steal Western intellectual property.

“We have the full expectation that China will do everything in their power to obtain any viable research that we are conducting here in the U.S.,” Evanina added that the US is “expecting them to continue to do so,” Bill Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center told NPR back in May.

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