Russian hackers are trying steal coronavirus vaccine research, according to U.S., British and Canadian government officials. America's National Security Agency said Thursday that a hacking group, which was implicated in the 2016 break-ins into Democratic Party servers, has attempted to grab intelligence on vaccines from health care organizations.
The group, known as APT29 and Cozy Bear, is associated with Russian intelligence, and is trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic crisis, officials said.
Moscow denied the claims.
“We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” said Paul Chichester, the director of operations for Britain’s National Cyber Security Center.
Using malware and fake emails, the Russian hackers are targeting U.S., British, and Canadian organizations, the officials said. The bogus emails try to trick users into entering passwords and other security details in a bid to steal information about vaccine research and medical supply chains.
The U.S. government earlier warned that China and Iran were trying to hijack vaccine research.
“APT29 has a long history of targeting governmental, diplomatic, think-tank, health care and energy organizations for intelligence gain, so we encourage everyone to take this threat seriously,” said Anne Neuberger, cyber security director for the National Security Agency.