A diplomatic row has erupted after the UK, US and Canada accused Russia of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research by sanctioning ‘despicable’ cyberattacks against a host of medical organizations and universities.
The three nations issued a bombshell joint statement this afternoon claiming a hacking group called APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, is engaged in an ongoing campaign of ‘malicious activity’, only a few hours ago the UK government admitted it had seen evidence of a plot by Russian hackers to alter the 2019 election results.
Security chiefs now believe the group is ‘almost certainly’ operating as part of Russian Intelligence Services, with officials confident the Kremlin has given the green light for the activity. The three nations believe the purpose of the Russian attacks is to steal intellectual property so that Moscow can develop a coronavirus vaccine first or at least at the same time as the UK, US, and Canada.
It is thought that pharmaceutical and academic institutions have been targeted by the hackers but the identity of specific targets has not been made public, over 140 groups are working on a vaccine for COVID at any one time and the first to get to market could reap massive returns. The statement has worsened already strained relations between the UK and Russia.
Can the Government launch an attack back?