Russian state-sponsored hackers target Covid-19 vaccine researchers

Russian state-sponsored hackers target Covid-19 vaccine researchers

  • UK National Cyber Security Centre says drug firms and research groups being targeted by group known as APT29

Russian state-sponsored hackers are targeting UK, US and Canadian organisations involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, according to British security officials.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said drug companies and research groups were being targeted by a group known as APT29, which was “almost certainly” part of the Kremlin’s intelligence services.

British officials would not say if any of the attacks had been successful in their goal of stealing medical secrets. They stressed, however, that none of the vaccine research had been compromised as a result.

Britain is at the forefront of research efforts to produce a vaccine, with scientists at Oxford University and Imperial College London, among those leading global efforts.

It is rare for the UK to explicitly state that it believes another country is behind a coordinated and ongoing campaign of cyber-attacks, but British officials said it shared its assessment with the US and Canada.