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16 Jul, 2020 15:25

Beware! Russia needs your vaccine! UK, US & Canada say hackers targeting Covid-19 research are ‘almost certainly’ Kremlin-linked

Beware! Russia needs your vaccine! UK, US & Canada say hackers targeting Covid-19 research are ‘almost certainly’ Kremlin-linked

An online hacker group known as ‘The Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’, which is “almost certainly” linked to the Kremlin, have targeted researchers working on a Covid-19 vaccine, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and allies say.

The UK’s NCSC, in conjunction with Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), have assessed that a cyber espionage group called APT29 is guilty of an ongoing campaign of “malicious activity” that began in February or March to target critical Covid-19 research projects at Oxford University and Imperial College London.

Security officials claim that the group is “almost certainly” part of the Russian intelligence services, and its target was – “highly likely” – Covid-19 vaccine research or research into the virus itself.

It is also said that the US National Security Agency (NSA) endorses all the allies’ findings.

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 security teams have not revealed whether attempts to steal information were successful.

Canada’s CSE declared that there has been an “elevated cyber security risk to Canadian health organizations” from Russian hackers during the coronavirus crisis.

Despite the fact that there’s no proof the hackers are linked to Moscow, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was quick to launch an offensive against those “pursuing their selfish interests with reckless behaviour,” while the “UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.”

“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Raab said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti that Russia does not have any information about who could hack pharmaceutical companies and research centers in the UK.

“We can say one thing – Russia has nothing to do with these attempts,” he said.

Also on rt.com British FM Dominic Raab is ‘almost certain’ Russians interfered in election, but you’ll have to take his word for it

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