The UK Cybersecurity Center said Russian-linked hackers tried to steal data from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada on the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
The report clarifies that the “cyber espionage group” APT29, or Dukes and Cozy Bear, which “almost certainly” is part of the Russian intelligence structure, has been carrying out attacks on various organizations that participated in the creation of the drug throughout the year.
According to the center, the hackers used WellMess and WellMail malware and phishing to gain access to developers’ computers. From the point of view of intelligence, many of this data was not valuable, but the stolen information could allegedly be used later or in case it becomes significant.
In the UK, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are being developed by two research centers: Oxford University and Imperial College London. The British media, citing information from sources in the intelligence services, write that both organizations were subjected to “hacker attacks”. Whether they suffered any damage is not reported.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian intelligence services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus 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,”Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
In turn, the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow does not know who could hack into the computers of pharmaceutical companies and research centers, and it definitely has nothing to do with this. Russia does not accept accusations of London in hacker attacks, as well as in interference in the 2019 elections, since such claims are unfounded.