Russian hackers, Cozy Bear and the Dukes , are being accused of malicious attacks against Canadian, US and UK’s researchers working on Coronavirus vaccine, according to cyber security experts in those countries.
The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) , Canada’s foreign signals intelligence, said Cozy Bear and the Dukes, Russian hacker group believed to be associated with Russian intelligence, is behind the malicious attacks.
CSE said that the hacker’s group “almost certainly operates as part of Russian intelligence services”. Kremlin denies the allegations.
These malicious cyber activities were very likely undertaken to steal information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines, and serve to hinder response efforts at a time when health care experts and medical researchers need every available resource to help fight the pandemic.
CSE declined to comment whether hackers were able to obtain any secret information about Covid-19 vaccines.
Canada, USA and UK said that Russian hackers use custom malware known as WellMess and WellMail to attack organizations.
Paul Chichester, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, said that allies “condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic.”
CSE has also confirmed that they are investigation earlier breaches that happened in May and were Covid-19 related also.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, said he denies allegations and that real evidence is needed.