In a rare joint statement from Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Canada, United States has alleged Russian state-backed hackers called APT29 of trying to hand government secrets of COVID-19 vaccine data.
The allegation comes when first-world countries are racing to find a vaccine to immunize the world against novel coronavirus that has so far affected nearly 14 million people worldwide. The report comes shortly after Russia became the first nation in the world to complete COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials on humans.
The allegation came on Thursday, after British cybersecurity eye NCSC issued a statement, explicitly stating the Russian state behind the hack by APT29; a rare allegation by Britain, the Guardian noted.
The group behind the cyber attack that has allegedly tried to leak sensitive pharmaceutical and treatment data on the COVID-19 from governments around the world is also called by the name ‘Cozy bear.’ British cyber agency has almost certainly vouched the attack was a part of the Russian intelligence service, Reuters noted.
“We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Director of Operations at NCSC, Paul Chichester was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab said it was ‘completely unacceptable’ by Russian intelligence to target such sensitive data in the midst of a pandemic and warned Britain and allies will hold intruders accountable.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the same day that his country has no information about such an allegation, according to reports.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik that Uk’s allegation is baseless, having received no “official request from the UK,” and neither “[…] any persuasive proof of cyberattacks on British universities and scientific organizations by our country or from its territory.”
In 2016, the Russian hacker group Cozy Bear was widely suspected of the United States Democratic Party ahead of election.