UK, US, Canada accuse Russia of trying to steal information about virus vaccine

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Britain, the US and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of trying to steal information from researchers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine, AP reported. The three nations alleged that hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence service, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in coronavirus vaccine development.

Britain’s National Cybersecurity Centre made the announcement, which was coordinated with authorities in the US and Canada. “It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,″ Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement. “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.″

It was unclear whether any information actually was stolen but the Britain’s National Cybersecurity Centre says individuals’ confidential information is not believed to have been compromised. The statement did not say whether Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about the vaccine research hacking.

Cozy Bear, also known as the “dukes,″ has been identified by Washington as one of two Russian government-linked hacking groups that broke into the Democratic National Committee computer network and stole emails ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The other group is usually called Fancy Bear.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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