Russian hackers are suspected of stealing vaccine data on a massive scale

Russian state intelligence is breaking into international research centres racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the UK and US and Canadian governments say.

It was unclear whether the research facility had been compromised or whether the vaccine project had been delayed by hacking, but officials warned that cyberattacks were continuing.

In a high-profile statement On Thursday, Britain’s National Cybersecurity Center said vaccine and treatment services in several countries had been targeted by a group called APT29 that was “almost certainly” part of Russia’s state intelligence service.
U.S. and Canadian security agencies later issued statements supporting the findings.

The British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “It is totally unacceptable that Russian intelligence has targeted people fighting coronavirus.”
“While other countries recklessly pursue their own self-interest, the UK and its Allies continue to work hard to find a vaccine to protect global health.”

The intelligence explosion comes at a geopolitically sensitive time, with US elections due in November and the global economy in recession.
The coronavirus has sparked a global vaccine race, and researchers in the UK have recently made progress.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin has hit a record low in his approval ratings as the Russian leader takes steps to ensure he stays in power until 2036.
Despite repeated allegations of interference, Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Russia denies involvement in research into a vaccine against the coronavirus.
“We don’t know who broke into the drug companies and the research centers.
We can only say that Russia has nothing to do with these attempts, “Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Bloomberg.

Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which supports vaccine research, called the allegations “an attempt to discredit” Russia’s vaccine work.

But the NCSC said APT29 had targeted vaccine research and development organizations in the United States and Canada.
According to the report, malicious activity continues to target government, diplomatic, think tank, health and energy targets in order to steal valuable intellectual property.

Researchers have linked APT29 to Russian intelligence.
Carbon Black’s hacking activities have targeted dozens of governments, research institutions and companies around the world for more than a decade, according to an analysis published in March by the cyber security company Carbon Black.

In 2016, US cyber security company Crowdstrike linked APT29 to hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
In the summer of 2015, Russian hackers broke into democratic National Committee servers and maintained access to the group’s data for about a year, according to Crowdstrike researchers.

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