U.S., UK And Canada Accuse Russia Of Supporting Hackers’ Attempts To Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Information

(TheFreedomFlag.com)- Russia is trying to steal valuable COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research.

A joint statement from the United States, Canada and Britain on Thursday accused hackers who are backed by Russia of trying to steal the information from pharmaceutical and academic institutions around the world.

The group in question is called APT29, which is also known as “Cozy Bear.” The joint statement said the group is almost definitely operating under the direction of intelligence services in Russia.

Paul Chichester, the director of operations for Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, said:

“We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic.”

Russia has already denied the allegations. A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the claims weren’t backed by any real evidence, according to RIA, which is a news agency in Russia.

On Thursday, Britain also levied accusations that “Russian actors” tried to interfere in the country’s 2019 election. They claimed the actors were attempting to spread leaked documents online. The foreign ministry in Russia also denied those allegations, calling them “foggy and contradictory.”

Peskov defended his country, saying:

“We do not have information regarding who could have hacked pharmaceutical companies and research centers in the UK. We can say one thing — Russia has nothing to do with these attempts, and we do not accept such accusations, just like we don’t accept yet another set of unfounded accusations of interference in the 2019 elections.”

In a statement, Dominic Raab, the British foreign minister, called Russia’s actions “completely unacceptable,” especially during a pandemic. He said:

“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behavior, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.”

A press release about the issue read:

“APT29’s campaign of malicious activity is ongoing, predominantly against government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy targets to steal valuable intellectual property.”

The Cozy Bear group is one of two that are linked to Russia that many believed were to be involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee leading up to the 2016 presidential election in the U.S.

After the advisory was published on Thursday, Anne Neuberger, the U.S. National Security Agency’s cybersecurity director, released a statement that said:

“The National Security Agency (NSA), along with our partners, remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting national security by collectively issuing this critical cybersecurity advisory as foreign actors continue to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“APT29 has a long history of targeting governmental, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy organizations for intelligence gain so we encourage everyone to take this threat seriously and apply the mitigations issued in the advisory.”

The claims issued Thursday are supported by many international partners, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, the Canadian Communication Security Establishment, and the NSA.

As the report read:

“APT29 is likely to continue to target organizations involved in COVID-19 vaccine research and development, as they seek to answer additional intelligence questions relating to the pandemic.”