UK Cybersecurity Centre Claims Russia-Linked Hackers Tried to Steal Data on COVID-19 Vaccine


Last month, the head of the spy agency GCHQ said that Britain’s intelligence agents had detected multiple cyberattacks on the country’s health infrastructure in spring, linking the attacks to attempts to steal government secrets about a COVID-19 vaccine.

UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) accused on Thursday Russia-linked cyber actors of attempts to steal data on the development of an anti-coronavirus vaccine.
"RUSSIAN cyber actors are targeting organisations involved in coronavirus vaccine development, UK security officials have revealed," the centre said.

It also alleged that a group APT29, also known as "the Dukes" or "Cozy Bear", operated as part of Russian intelligence services "almost certainly."

Following a joint statement by British, Canadian and U.S. cybersecurity services, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned Russian intelligence services against attempting to target research on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic," Raab said, as quoted by Reuters.

"The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyber attacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account," the minister added, according to the agency.

Last month, an interview with the GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming was released, in which he said that Britain's intelligence agents had detected numerous cyberattacks on the country's health infrastructure, linking the attacks to attempts to steal data on a coronavirus vaccine. Fleming did not disclose who was believed to be behind the attacks. However, The Telegraph reported, without citing any sources, that the government's efforts to tackle coronavirus-related cyberattacks were thought to be focused on Russia, China, and Iran.

Moscow denied the allegations, saying that the UK presented no proof of Russia's alleged hacking attacks on laboratories working on a COVID-19 vaccine.