Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has reported that hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal treatment research pertaining to Covid-19 as well as a vaccine for it from pharmaceutical and academic institutions around the world.
A joint statement by Britain, Canada and the US attributes the attacks to a group said to be operating almost certainly as part of the Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) that goes by the name of APT29 and is also known as “Cozy Bear”.
The NCSC released a statement saying the group’s attacks were ongoing and used a variety of tools and techniques like custom malware and spear-phishing. Paul Chichester, the Director of Operations of NCSC is also quoted saying that they “condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the corona virus pandemic”. It was further stated by the NCSC that “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”.
Britain and the US have previously said that networks of hackers were targeting national and international organisations responding to the Covid-19 pandemic however such attacks have not previously been explicitly connected to the Russian state as they are now.
The same Russian government-linked group, aka “Cozy Bear” is also widely suspected of having hacked the Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 US elections.
Source: London Reuters